“Telecommunications being an essential service, it is requested that all personnel engaged in providing and maintaining mobile, internet and telecom infrastructure services be issued the necessary permissions and passes, including for travel by local train/public transport, to enable all (consumers) to stay connected, even in the eventuality of lockdowns and restrictions on movement imposed by states and UTs,” Prakash stated in similar letters, dated April 27, to all state chief secretaries. ET has seen a duplicate of the letter.
The telecom division, he added, trusts that “all states and UTs will extend assistance and facilitation” to allow uninterrupted providers/operations of phone exchanges, cell switching centres, community operation centres, knowledge centres, name centres and warehouses the place upkeep spares are saved.
Prakash’s letter comes after telephone corporations and tower operators lately coaxed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to push states and UTs to recognise telecoms as a necessary service and guarantee its uninterrupted availability even throughout countrywide lockdowns.
“We have received references from the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and the Tower & Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), requesting us to take up with states and UTs to recognise telecom as an essential service and provide the necessary assistance to enable uninterrupted services,” Prakash stated in his letter.
A senior telco government stated “DoT’s intervention is critical” as operators have been dealing with huge challenges in securing the mandatory e-passes/approvals through state portals for unhindered motion of their field engineers amid the most recent lockdowns, which is severely impacting community help and upkeep operations
The COAI represents Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vodafone Idea (Vi), whereas TAIPA represents Indus Towers, ATC, Summit Digitel, Ascend, and Tower Vision amongst others.
Telcos and tower corporations have additionally lately sought DoT’s assist to guarantee their important field staff get frontline healthcare employee standing to function freely and be exempt from any curfew-like restrictions amid the Covid-19 second wave. They have warned that with out such exemptions, field engineers received’t give you the option to entry crucial websites nor do repairs and upkeep work, which may trigger a breakdown in cell and web connectivity throughout states.
Tower corporations have additionally approached DoT for precedence vaccination of their field crew in order that they’ll go about their operations & upkeep (O&M) work in an unhindered vogue in states seeing a Covid surge.