In the wake of lockdown, telcos have warned the government of an imminent breakdown in telecom services across COVID-19 hotspots as their emergency teams are being blocked by local authorities in these sealed locations.

To this end, the companies have also sought the urgent intervention of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to ensure their teams can operate freely and ensure uninterrupted mobile and internet connectivity in these hotspot locations.

In its letter dated April 9, 2020, to the telecom secretary, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said there could be a total breakdown of mobile and internet services if technicians are denied access to telecom sites in the COVID-19 hotspots.

The COAI has also urged the telecom secretary to monitor developments and issue instructions to the concerned state governments to allow movement of staff of telcos, tower infrastructure service providers, fibre optic providers and (vendor) partners to ensure fault repair and maintenance work can be undertaken for ensuring uninterrupted connectivity in these sealed off areas.

Meanwhile, in the response to COAI’s letter, DoT’s Maharashtra wing has already urged the local state police to cooperate with telecom operators and allow their field units to maintain essential telecom services in public interest in the hotspot locations.