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TalkTalk offers Emergency Plan

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TalkTalk subscribers won't be cut off if they are unable to pay their bill for up to six months during the recession, provided they can pay line rental, boss Charles Dunstone pledged today.

From January 30, the struggling TalkTalk customers who call customer services will be considered on a case-by-case basis to switch to the "Emergency Plan".

If approved their monthly call and internet charges will be dropped to zero and their broadband line will be throttled to 512Kbit/s with a 1GB monthly download limit. UK weekend calls will be free, as will calls to other TalkTalk customers at any time. Premium, international and mobile calls will be barred.

The TalkTalk line rental charge of £10.50 will still apply.

Customers will automatically be switched back to their normal package once they have been on the Emergency Plan for six months. TalkTalk said the move was intended to help those laid off in the recession to "sort out their finances".

Dunstone said: "We want to help our customers as much as we can as we know many face financial difficulties this year. If they are worried about their household finances or their ability to pay for whatever reason, we encourage them to call us."

Ofcom said it welcomed the Emergency Plan in light of the economic environment.

Carphone Warehouse co-founder Dunstone has apparently been worrying about his own financial predicament recently. In an company-wide email earlier this month he issued staff with a dire warning that "everything I read and observe fills me with dread for the state of the whole global economy". He emphasised the importance of subscriber numbers, declaring "every pound is a prisoner". ®

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