Covid19 Tech Impact
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With increasing dependency on telecom networks amid the lockdown, the telecom operators are already under intense pressure to keep networks running smoothly. However, the companies now fear an imminent breakdown in parts of the country.
In a letter to the telecom secretary Anshu Prakash, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has warned that the telecom services may breakdown across Covid-19 hotspots where emergency teams are being blocked by local authorities.
The organisation has also sought urgent intervention from the department of telecommunications (DoT) to ensure their teams can operate freely and ensure uninterrupted mobile and internet connectivity in these sealed locations where the pandemic outbreak is severe.
Rajan Mathews, director-general of COAI said, “Telecom has been recognised as an essential service in various government orders, but curfew-like restrictions are being imposed by various state governments in areas sealed off as Covid-19 hotspots where no movement of telecom services personnel is being allowed, which can lead to a complete breakdown in services.”
The industry has been facing challenges mostly in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra where numerous locations have been notified as Covid-19 hotspots.
COAI has further urged the telecom secretary to “monitor developments and issue instructions to the concerned state governments” to allow movement of staff of telcos, tower infrastructure service providers, fibre optic providers and (vendor) partners to ensure fault repair and maintenance work” can be undertaken for ensuring uninterrupted connectivity in these sealed off areas.
In response, DoT’s Maharashtra wing urged the local state police to cooperate with telecom operators and allow their field units to maintain essential telecom services in public interest in the Covid-19 hotspots.
In the past few weeks, consumers and businesses have been complaining about slow internet speed, dropped video calls, buffering OTT content and delayed or no response from the customer care support due to coronavirus outbreak. Many experts and analysts that Inc42 spoke to said that the existing telecom infrastructure does not support a drastic increase in data consumption.
However, some said that it is an unprecedented event, and no one had planned for this to happen and any blockages will be resolved in the coming days.