COVID-19: database of responses now online
Apr 06, 2020 by Richard Handford

Blog

LocationGlobal
RegionsAsia
Tagscoronavirus, COVID-19, ITU

The ITU has launched  a COVID-19 database that enables governments, regulators, mobile operators and other participants in the telecoms world to share experiences and best practice during the current crisis.

There is information from all corners of the globe and every part of the spectrum world in response to the pandemic: a heartening sign in the midst of difficult times.

The Global Network Resiliency Platform (#REG4COVID) is somewhere to “share and pool experiences, ongoing initiatives, and innovative policy and regulatory measures”, says the ITU. There is a link for respondents to add their own contributions.

Policymakers and regulators are obviously prominent, as are fixed and mobile operators, MVNOs and other service providers. But there are also recommendations and suggestions from international and regional organisations, as well as the technical community and civil society.

The ITU is encouraging the sharing of information on subjects such as emergency preparedness; how to maintain broadband availability and quality of service; consumer protection and maintaining universal service.

Information sharing is  clearly vital at this time which is why PolicyTracker will stage a webinar for the Asia region on the spectrum world’s response to COVID-19 on Thursday 9 April, see here. Speakers include Rob Nicholls of UNSW Business School and Bharat Bhatia, chair of the APT task group of PPDR and President of ITU-APT Foundation in India.

The coronavirus has unsurprisingly led to the postponements of a growing number of spectrum auctions, particularly in Europe, and other disruptions to spectrum-based activities.

But it has also seen measures, such as the temporary release of more frequencies to help operators deal with increased traffic loads or imaginative deployments intended to counteract the pandemic, for instance 5G-enabled remote diagnostics in China or phone-tracking systems in Taiwan and Singapore to monitor self-isolation or gauge an infected individual’s proximity to others. Let’s hope our adverse circumstances can breed more such ingenuity.