CityFibre's COVID-19 update
The Government has declared that telecommunications infrastructure is critical to continue to allow both society and the economy to function and to enable rapid economic recovery when the crisis is over. It has therefore requested that telecommunications operators continue to build as well as maintain networks throughout this period.
Last updated 24/03/2020
As a builder of critical digital infrastructure, we are continuing to build and maintain our networks, with the Government's full approval. We follow its advice to minimise the risk of exposure to and transmission of COVID-19. Without exception, the safety of our staff, contractors, customers and the public is our highest priority.
We continue to build
The Government considers telecommunications operations critical for the UK. As a result, we’ve been asked to continue to build and maintain our networks. We are doing this according to the levels of productivity already agreed with local authorities.
The Government has also designated our field-staff and those of our contractors as ‘key workers’, making them exempt from the wider restrictions on movement.
In order to carry out our work, our staff and contractors are required to adhere to strict protocols on social distancing and minimising of contact with members of the public. They also continue to work to the highest health and safety construction standards. This includes leaving trenches in a safe and manageable state at the end of every working day.
If you see our staff or contractors working in your town or city, please appreciate their critical role in keeping our nation connected and help them by following Government guidelines on social distancing for your own protection as well as theirs.
We serve critical sites, as well as homes
Our full fibre networks are about more than just bringing gigabit broadband services to homes across the UK. We also serve thousands of critical healthcare, education and community sites too, including hospitals, GP surgeries, community buildings, schools and council offices.
Even in residential streets, our network is empowering legions of people to work effectively from home, as well as providing a backbone for the imminent rollout of 5G services. In short – this is critical digital infrastructure.
We’re protecting people
We’ve put in place clear policies to ensure our staff and contractors do not compromise the health and safety of themselves, our customers or the general public.
Our staff and contractors are adhering to all government guidelines in order to mitigate risks of exposure to or transmission of COVID-19.
If engineers need to attend a customer site to carry out a survey, installation or repair on our behalf they will endeavour to call in advance. Before entering the premises, the engineer will ask:
Has anyone in the premises been diagnosed with COVID-19, been asked to self-isolate, or has travelled to a Coronavirus high-risk area or country in the last 14 days?
Is anyone in the premises suffering from flu-like symptoms?
If the answer to question one is yes, or the customer independently decides they no longer want us to proceed, our order management team will be alerted and the job will be placed ‘on hold’ until a future date – to be agreed with the relevant service provider partner.
If the answer to question two is ‘yes’, the engineer can proceed, but will undertake additional hygiene actions. This includes wiping surfaces, asking the end customer to remain in a different room, not accepting the offer of drinks and bypassing the sign-off with the customer when the job is finished.
We’re connecting and serving customers
COVID-19 is creating unprecedented challenges for UK businesses, households and those seeking to maintain vital public services. As our nation strives to stay connected with colleagues, customers and loved ones, the availability and reliability of connectivity services has never been more important.
We are in daily conversation with the partners who support our service installation, maintenance and repair. By working together to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed and that personal protective equipment is available, we are currently seeing no material impact on our day to day service operations.
We’re working smart
All our office-based staff are continuing to work as normal from the safety of their own homes in order to minimise exposure to risks. Agile-working staff are also avoiding all non-essential travel and are following strict social distancing guidelines if face-to-face engagement is unavoidable.
These changes understandably affect the way we interact as a business, but with digital tools at our disposal, we expect no impact on quality of engagement or availability of our people overall.
We’re well prepared
CityFibre has always taken business continuity seriously. In early February we set up a COVID-19 Task Force to monitor the emerging risk and government advice on a daily basis. We used this to develop a clear mitigation strategy with key elements as follows:
Identifying agile workforce within CityFibre and our contractors
Enhancing our ability to tailor plans and respond quickly to mitigate different levels of risks
Ensuring our smart-working capability is scalable and robust
Refining our communications processes to ensure speed, clarity and the ability to rapidly update and trigger actions
Undertaking a period of intense scenario simulation to test our readiness.
This proactive planning has so far enabled us to minimise risk of exposure for all and stay open for business.
Our networks were designed for the challenge
Our full fibre networks are modern built and capacity rich, this means we can easily sustain increased usage and higher dependency on our infrastructure – even at peak times.
Once we are through this crisis period, we will play our part in supporting the recovery of our economy and society. To power the nation’s future, our country needs a world-class digital infrastructure, and we remain fully committed to building it.
We’ll keep you updated
UK Government advice and information from our contractors and partners is guiding the decisions we make. We’ll update this page as needed and be honest if we think something may impact our operations.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or believe that our staff or contractors are not following social distancing guidelines, please get in touch.
Official information and advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) is available via:
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