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DoT Meets Telecom Industry To Discuss Business Continuity Amid COVID-19

The urgency of the mission was visible as the Department of Telecommunications held a meeting with the telecom operators, their association and the ministry officials. The idea was to take stock of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 crisis and ways to go about it.

With the work from home pattern adopted and more people confined to their homes, the telecommunication and allied services have become very critical in the scheme of things.

The industry was represented by the three major carriers, Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio as well as the public sector telecom operators besides the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

From the operators’ perspective they wanted that the DoT coordinates with the authorities in the centre and the states to ensure that their field staff are allowed to move around to access their telecom towers, their data centres and other operational areas even in the event of a lockdown. With more people accessing the internet and mobile services from their places of residence, the network can come under pressure and their staff have to be prepared to attend to faults immediately.

The telecom operators are demanding additional spectrum to handle the increased traffic at least on a temporary basis. They want the telecom services to be treated as an essential service which will then facilitate the movement of their staffs.

The government has already taken a big step in trying to protect the telecom sector by staggering the AGR dues payment though the Supreme Court has not liked it. There are more trying conditions for the sector.—The News Minute

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