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March 18, 2020
As the world continues to reel from the spread of COVID-19, and operators brace themselves for huge spikes in home broadband usage, Vodafone Group has come up with a five-point plan that it hopes will help counter the impact of the novel coronavirus. (See UK mobile networks hit problems as COVID-19 spreads.)
It may alarm some that the group is proposing to "assist governments" to "understand people's movements" by "developing insights based on large anonymised data sets" – in other words, track where people are going.
Vodafone emphasized that all data and findings will be anonymous, and expressed itself as willing to work with partners, including governments, to ensure that measures can be implemented. The operator pointed out that it is already producing an aggregated and anonymous heat map for the Lombardy region in Italy to help the authorities to better understand population movements in order to help thwart the spread of COVID-19.
For more fixed broadband market coverage and insights, check out our dedicated broadband content channel here on Light Reading.
The fact that Vodafone is proposing such a measure is a reflection of the strange times in which we currently live. The other four points in its plan are more prosaic, and largely reference the ongoing need to maintain networks and service quality in the face of growing demand, with traffic rising by 50% in some of its markets; provide network capacity for critical government functions such as healthcare and education; support the dissemination of information to the public; and enable people to work from home, partly through support for small businesses.
Vodafone said the measures will remain in effect until September 1, 2020, and can be extended, should it be necessary, in individual markets.
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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading
Read more about:Europe
Contributing Editor, Light Reading
Anne Morris is a freelance journalist, editor and translator. She has been working in the telecommunications sector since 1996, when she joined the London-based team of Communications Week International as copy editor. Over the years she held the editor position at Total Telecom Online and Total Tele-com Magazine, eventually leaving to go freelance in 2010. Now living in France, she writes for a number of titles and also provides research work for analyst companies.
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