COVID-19: ITU launches global platform to protect telecommunication networks as citizens work from home

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As many cities across the world go under locks and millions are confined to their homes relying only on telecom networks to stay connected and work, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has launched a platform to assist national policy-makers, regulators and industry stakeholders in ensuring that networks remain resilient and telecommunication services are available to all citizens. The platform will also help to ensure that operators and countries are able, to maximum extent, share best practices and initiatives vital to global health and safety as well as to keep economies and societies working even as COVID-19 crisis deepens.

“At stake is our ability, as one human family, to give health workers everywhere the tools they need to carry out their duties, to allow all those that can to work from home, to trade online, to ensure that hundreds of millions of children and young people keep up with their studies, and to keep in touch with loved ones, wherever they are,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao in a statement on the launch of global platform. Read the statement below.

ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao’s statement on launch of global platform to protect telecomm networks during COVID-19 crisis

Never before have telecommunication networks been so vital to our health and safety, and to keep our economy and society working, as during the COVID-19 crisis we are living through today. As a result, I have instructed my team to leverage without any delay ITU’s existing regulatory and policy-maker platform to help countries and industry cope with the increasing stress being put on global networks.

At stake is our ability, as one human family, to give health workers everywhere the tools they need to carry out their duties, to allow all those that can to work from home, to trade online, to ensure that hundreds of millions of children and young people keep up with their studies, and to keep in touch with loved ones, wherever they are.

The platform ITU is launching today aims to assist national policy-makers, regulators and industry stakeholders to ensure that networks are kept resilient and telecommunication services are available to all to the maximum extent possible by sharing best practices and initiatives put in place during the COVID-19 crisis. It will collect relevant and trustworthy information and expertise on actions that telecommunication policy-makers, regulators and others in the regulatory community can use to ensure that their telecommunication networks and services serve the needs of their country.

The new Global Network Resiliency Platform (#REG4COVID) is available here.

This new ITU platform will provide countries struggling to find appropriate solutions to ensure their networks’ resiliency with relevant and trustworthy information and expertise on how to cope with the stresses faced by their infrastructure. And because time is of the essence, it will give those countries that still have time to prepare an opportunity to learn from what is being done elsewhere – from emergency spectrum reassignments to guidelines for consumers on responsible use. Serving initially as an informative tool, the Global Network Resiliency Platform will soon be expanded to provide an interactive and engaging platform for continuous sharing throughout this crisis and beyond.

The crisis we are in today calls for solidarity

In these uncertain times, we should not forget all those around the world who still lack access to the Internet. As the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, ITU has long advocated for universal, reliable and affordable connectivity, and we will continue to push on all these fronts until everyone is connected.

I call on all ITU members, from the public and private sector alike, to come together to build the best platform we can so that information and communication technology can help defeat COVID-19 and make us safer, stronger and more connected.


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