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Covid-19: Airtel urges uninterrupted internet in outreach to other telcos

Calls for joining hands and paving the way for intra-circle roaming pacts as country goes under lock down in war against coronavirus

Megha Manchanda  |  New Delhi 

Bharti Airtel
Airtel also announced nominating Randeep Sekhon, Chief Technology Officer as its our single point of contact

on Monday asked Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd join hands and pave the way for intra-circle roaming (ICR) pacts to ensure uninterrupted mobile and wireless internet services amid the surge in data consumption. The spike is the outcome of the near lock down in the country in its battle against Covid-19, forcing people to to contain spread of the

In a letter to all the companies, Airtel said the world was witnessing an unprecedented situation and all efforts were being made on the ground by the government to contain the spread of Covid-19.

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“It is therefore of paramount importance that at this crucial juncture, we come together as an industry to serve the nation and prepare,” it said. "In line with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP-17) for Telecommunication Services for responding to Disasters, as issued by Department of Telecommunications, we would like to put in place a protocol amongst the TSPs for implementation of various measures, including intra circle roaming."

"This will be particularly relevant, where a site is shut or where the TSP is not able to manage the up time, so that, we can collectively ensure that the services are not interrupted," the company added.

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Airtel also announced nominating Randeep Sekhon, Chief Technology Officer as its our single point of contact.

The Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) has asked the Union government to instruct the over-the-top players like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Zee 5 to take measures for easing the pressure on network infrastructure due to increased demand in online video streaming amid lockdown and quarantine measures to contain the spread of Covid 19.

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COAI has also approached streaming platforms cautioning them about surge in digital use straining network infrastructure of operators, and urged to take urgent steps like temporarily switching to SD (Standard Definition) from HD (Hi Definition) streaming, removing high bandwidth-consuming advertisements and pop ups, and replacing them with public announcements on awareness regarding the virus.

In a letter to Department secretary, COAI has said, "...due to lockdown/ quarantine measures in various parts of the country, a sudden surge in demand for online video streaming is also expected to rise substantially."

COAI said that during this crucial time, it is absolutely essential for the streaming platforms to cooperate with providers so as to manage the traffic distribution patterns that are likely to strain the network infrastructure "at a time when it is needed for various critical requirements."

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 13:36 IST