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People employed in the data and global carrier industries are keeping the world connected, but concerns remain over health and safety issues.

UK telecommunications workers and data infrastructure technicians are classified as key workers. Many workers are upgrading IT systems in healthcare facilities and hospitals as the coronavirus pandemic places extra demands on health services.

Andrew Shilton of MLL Telecom has complained that the essential PPE (personal protective workers) that his staff need is not available. He says that technicians working in hospitals are risking their health by not having the right PPE.

There are rumours that the 5G networks contribute to the severity of the pandemic. The Guardian has reported that people working on the 5G infrastructure have been physically and verbally threatened, although as yet there have been no casualties.

Data centres are still operating with social distancing in force for employees. Some data centre operators have expressed fears that access to data centre sites may become difficult for maintenance staff if there are further lockdown restrictions.

Remote workers need reliable broadband and telecommunications connections. People staying at home use broadband for a virtual social life to connect with friends, family and work colleagues. Sky broadband was unavailable for many thousands of customers at the beginning of April, and users of other broadband services have experienced slowdowns as the systems become overloaded by more people being online.

It is essential that enough healthy workers are available to keep the internet and data centres functioning.

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