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'Keep Britain Connected' campaign highlights role of telecoms key workers

(Image credit: Openreach)

The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has launched the ‘Keep Britain Connected’ campaign to celebrate and raise awareness of the role of key workers in the telecoms sector during the ongoing Coronavirus crisis.

The role of mobile and broadband networks has risen significantly during lockdown and people rely on their connections for work, entertainment and communications with friends and family. This has resulted in a significant increase in data traffic and makes reliability paramount.

Aside from a major Virgin Media outage, the UK’s infrastructure has largely remained resilient thanks to service providers taking steps to maintain and increase the capacity of networks.

Keep Britain Connected

However than have been unsavoury and sinister instances of engineers being targeted by those who subscribe to widely discredited 5G conspiracies. These include reports of verbal and physical abuse and attacks on mobile masts – some of which do not even house 5G equipment.

Some engineers have also been subject to complaints that the work they are doing is not essential – something anyone relying on their connection would dispute. To illustrate its point, the campaign has nominated nine examples of key worker roles during the crisis, including engineer, customer service agent, and technical expert.

“The resilience of the UK network has been a huge success story during the lockdown. Despite some initial scepticism, the network has performed well and has proven to be the backbone of the UK, allowing businesses to continue operating and more importantly, helping people stay connected with their loved ones,” declared Andrew Glover, chair of the ISPA.

“This has been possible not because of some miracle, but because of the thousands of telecoms key workers who have carried on with their roles to maintain and support the network. These workers have put themselves and their families at risk everyday by going out and doing their job. Many have faced new and unexpected challenges of working in lockdown. Some have even faced abuse from the public. But this has not stopped them from doing an incredible job in ensuring that the UK network continues to perform.

“We want to make sure that their work does not go unnoticed, so this is why we are launching this campaign to celebrate the key workers that have been vital in keeping Britain connected.”

"Being able to get online has always been important but as we stay at home to save lives it is absolutely vital,” added culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

“While our internet networks were built to be resilient, dedicated telecoms engineers are still out there every day doing essential work so we can stay informed, entertained and in touch with friends and family during lockdown. So we should all applaud our brilliant mobile and broadband workers for keeping Britain connected."

Steve McCaskill is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with eight years' experience. I write about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.