Communication networks and COVID-19: How countries are stepping up to the challenge

Mar 31, 2020 | Insights Blog

As the world responds to the COVID-19 crisis, communication networks are playing a critical role in helping millions of people around the world adapt to remote working and remote learning whilst enabling them to connect virtually with family and friends.

Regulators and operators in countries around the world are playing a critical role in dealing with a surge in demand for connectivity, which is putting tremendous pressure on networks in these unprecedented times. Here are some observations to demonstrate how countries are truly stepping up to the challenge:


It is ‘Imperative’ that networks can cope during COVID-19 outbreak, says ComReg, the telecommunications regulator in Ireland. Mobile telephone and broadband suppliers are to be given extra radio spectrum to accommodate the huge increase in demand provoked by the COVID-19 crisis, the Commission for Communications Regulation has said in the Irish Times.

United Kingdom

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has launched Stay Connected, a nationwide campaign advising the public on ways to reduce pressure on networks during the coronavirus lockdown. It is supported by all major operators and the campaign offers seven top tips to avoid network outages.

United States
FCC chairman Ajit Pai has launched the Keep Americans Connected initiative in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It asks that all broadband and telephone service providers and trade associations take a pledge to support residential and small businesses affected by the pandemic. It is supported by 550 companies across America.

According to Data Economy, Verizon received emergency government permission for additional spectrum to handle demand surges. Further, customer late fees will be waived and the data plan on the Verizon Innovative Learning program will be upgraded for the next two months.

T-Mobile have taken extra steps to ensure that their network continues to perform and meet increased demand including, spectrum sharing agreements with Comcast, DISH and others to deliver a 58% increase in capacity of the 600 MHz spectrum coverage.


All telco providers are working hard to minimise disruption and maintain vital communication networks, including the provisioning of extra capacity wherever the risk of congestion becomes apparent. This includes Triple Zero and other emergency service communications, AMTA.

 According to RCR Wireless, Australian carrier Telstra has decided to put a job cut program on hold and accelerate investments in 5G deployments due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in Australia.

As a quickly unfolding crisis, COVID-19 is posing new challenges for regulators, operators and countries to adapt and ensure continuity of service as we aim to #StayHome and #StayConnected to help curb the spread of the virus.



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