A global platform designed to help governments maintain the resilience and availability of telecom networks during the coronavirus crisis has been launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialised agency of the United Nations.

Dubbed the REG4COVID Platform, it will help governments and the private sector access, share and pool initiatives, policy measures and initiatives to help maintain telecom networks during the outbreak. It will also, ITU says, help “harness the full power and potential of ICTs to save lives”.

In a statement issued late on Monday, ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao argued that strong telecom networks were essential to ongoing efforts against the global coronavirus pandemic.

“Never before have telecommunication networks been so vital to our health and safety, and to keep our economy and society working, as during the COVID-19 crisis we are living through today,” said Zhao.

“As a result, I have instructed my team to leverage without any delay ITU’s existing regulatory and policy-maker platform to help countries and industry cope with the increasing stress being put on global networks.”

The importance of telecom networks during the coronavirus outbreak

Zhao underscored how reliable and resilient telecom networks were particularly vital to healthcare and the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.

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By GlobalData

“At stake is our ability, as one human family, to give health workers everywhere the tools they need to carry out their duties, to allow all those that can to work from home, to trade online, to ensure that hundreds of millions of children and young people keep up with their studies, and to keep in touch with loved ones, wherever they are,” he said.

The platform is intended to help “national policymakers, regulators and industry stakeholders” to keep telecom networks running effectively, by enabling successful projects and initiatives to be shared and replicated.

“This new ITU platform will provide countries struggling to find appropriate solutions to ensure their networks’ resiliency with relevant and trustworthy information and expertise on how to cope with the stresses faced by their infrastructure,” he said.

“And because time is of the essence, it will give those countries that still have time to prepare an opportunity to learn from what is being done elsewhere – from emergency spectrum reassignments to guidelines for consumers on responsible use.”

Read more: UK networks face “unprecedented demand” as coronavirus forces school closures