TalkTalk has announced an "Emergency Plan" to help out customers "facing financial difficulties" in 2009.

Apparently coming straight from the top, Charles Dunstone, the CEO of TalkTalk Group, has agreed to waive TalkTalk's £6.49 monthly home phone and broadband charge.

Available from 30 January, TalkTalk says the "Emergency Plan" will give people suffering economic hardship free access to the Internet and phone for 6 months, meaning those customers will only pay line rental.

Customers will be given a six-month grace period, during which time they will be provided with a free, basic service (512kbps speed, 1GB downloads, no mobile or international calls) to make sure they can still access the Internet and use their phone.

"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", Charles Dunstone said.

"If you're anticipating hardship, perhaps as part of a job loss, your home phone and broadband service has never been more important in helping you get back on your feet. We hope our Emergency Plan will keep people connected, and give them the opportunity to apply for jobs and learn new skills".

Available to 6-month-plus customers of TalkTalk, each application for the plan will be judged on a case by case basis and can be applied for by calling TalkTalk customer services.

TalkTalk promises customers will not be asked to pay back the rest of the standard monthly tariff at any point and their normal contract will not be extended.