Sunday, 17 January 2021

UK operators called upon to inject broadband into Covid vaccination sites

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 25 November 20

With a coronavirus vaccine almost ready for rollout, telcos have been asked to bolster the broadband of NHS staff vaccination locations by as early as next week

In the last month, various coronavirus vaccine trials have entered the spotlight, with positive results offering hope and optimism to a population desperate to have a ‘normal’ Christmas.    The government is naturally keen to roll out the vaccine en masse as soon as possible, but doing so is going to be an enormous logistical challenge…

In the last month, various coronavirus vaccine trials have entered the spotlight, with positive results offering hope and optimism to a population desperate to have a ‘normal’ Christmas. 

 

The government is naturally keen to roll out the vaccine en masse as soon as possible, but doing so is going to be an enormous logistical challenge. The first step, of course, is to vaccinate the NHS staff who treat coronavirus patients regularly. However, the NHS is the UK’s biggest employer, with over a million staff members, so even this first step in the national vaccine rollout will be a tremendous feat.

 

Now, the government is asking a range of broadband providers, including BT and Virgin Media, to assess the cost of providing broadband to 47 locations that will soon be used as initial vaccination stations for NHS workers. These locations are going to need robust connectivity if they are to perform optimally, with most of the related administration work to take place on laptops and smartphones. 

 

“We have been working closely with industry and our colleagues in NHSX to ensure that future vaccination sites have the digital connectivity they need,” said the government in a statement. 

 

Sites included range from those that already have robust internet, such as London’s Excel Centre, to more rural locations that will need urgent upgrades.

 

This is not the first time that the operators have had to work quickly as a result of the pressure of Covid-19. In the early stages of the pandemic, the operators were key allies in helping to set up emergency treatment sites around the country, with some managing to supply broadband to these outposts within just two days.

 

Meanwhile, outside of the physical deployment of broadband networks, the operators are continuing to support the UK public in a variety of ways, including removing data charges for physical and mental health services.

 

At the start of the pandemic, it was the operators’ agile response to the demands of the ‘new normal’ that kept the UK running. Now, with perhaps the first glimpse of the end in sight, it will be the operators once again who are working hard to deliver for the country.

 

What are the UK's operators doing to support their customers during the coronavirus pandemic? Check out the latest special measures here

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