Brit telcos will waive early termination fees for military personnel

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British military personnel will no longer face swingeing cancellation fees on broadband packages if they are posted abroad.

BT, EE, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have all committed to waiving the fees for serving military personnel who are either posted abroad or to an area of the UK not covered by their existing telly, telephone or internet bundles.

“Armed Forces personnel play a vital role protecting our country, whether serving overseas or stationed away from home in other parts of the UK,” intoned BT chief exec Gavin Patterson in a canned statement. “That’s why we’re committed to ensuring they don’t have to pay for broadband or TV services they can’t access, when they find themselves in this situation.”

“TalkTalk was the first ISP to recognise how tricky this can be and offer free disconnections for service personnel moving overseas, and we’re delighted that the rest of the industry has followed suit,” chimed in chief exec Dido Harding.

The waiver was agreed under the Armed Forces Covenant, a rather nebulous idea promoted by the Ministry of Defence “ensuring that those who serve or have previously served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly and not disadvantaged by their service”. Companies are encouraged to sign the covenant and promise not to disadvantage reservists who attend training courses during the working week.

Virgin Media’s cancellation fees for its Full House bundle can run into hundreds of pounds, with the telco’s website giving a sample figure of £217.20 for terminating a contract four months early. Over a similar period, cancelling BT’s Infinity 1 + Unlimited Anytime Calls Package (not including TV services) would cost £93.

The move will be very welcome for military personnel and their families, given that they can be posted anywhere between the northern reaches of Scotland and the Falkland Islands, via various glamorous (and some not-so-glamorous) postings in between. ®