Commission discusses with telecom operators how to join forces to fight Coronavirus outbreak

As part of the Commission’s response to the coronavirus, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton held a videoconference with CEOs of European telecommunication companies and GSMA, the association of mobile telecommunications operators, to discuss network resilience and the sharing of anonymised metadata for modelling and predicting the propagation of the virus. The Commissioner also raised the need to protect the most vulnerable consumers including micro-enterprises and SMEs having difficulties in paying their bills. Underlining the importance of telecommunications in these challenging times, Commissioner Breton said: “Telecommunication operators play a critical role to support European citizens and businesses during such an unprecedented situation. They are all committed to protect the smooth functioning of the open Internet and to monitor and prevent congestion. This is good news for all Europeans.” Telecommunication CEOs welcomed the positive response by content providers on the Commission’s call for reducing the load on the network and reported seeing substantial improvements already. The discussion also covered the need to collect anonymised mobile metadata to help analysing the patterns of diffusion of the coronavirus, in a way that is fully compliant with the GDPR and ePrivacy legislation. Furthermore, both sides highlighted the importance of protecting the networks against cyber-attacks and agreed to continue discussion on the various avenues.