Coronavirus: Permit working of telecom personnel, DoT tells states
New Delhi, Mar 25: The Department of Telecom reached out to state governments over difficulties faced by personnel of service operators in their movements due to lockdowns imposed by authorities to contain coronavirus outbreak.
Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash in a letter to chief secretaries of state and advisors to administrators of union territories has noted that telecom infrastructure is critical for maintaining communication, use of broadband, encouraging e-commerce and facilitating work from home during the ongoing restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.
While telecom services have been listed within the essential services, employees maintaining the network and managing operations have complained of facing problem in their movement.
"Instances are being reported where the local authorities have asked the personnel of the telecom service providers at network operation centres and call centres to shut down operations in the view of the restrictions.
"Hence, it will be necessary that instructions reach the field level to permit personnel maintaining and providing telecom services to continue their work without interruption," the letter said.
Employees of all organisations, that do not fall under list essential services, have been asked to work from home for business continuity using their phone and broadband connections.
Prakash has requested to state governments and UT administration designate nodal officer with the name and phone number who can be contacted by the telecom operators and internet companies in the event of any difficulty.
Telecom companies like Reliance Jio have announced free broadband service to new customers and doubled data limit for all existing customers to support work from home in fight against coronavirus.
State-owned telecom companies BSNL and MTNL took lead last week to announce free broadband plans and additional data for their customers to support work from home.
Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has written to its competitors Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, BSNL and MTNL for a roaming agreement to facilitate uninterrupted services to support work from home offered by almost all entities in the country amid the coronavirus outbreak.