The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA UK) has officially launched its Keeping Britain Connected campaign to celebrate the key workers in the telecoms sector who have been working throughout the lockdown to maintain and support the network.

The campaign is supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Broadband Stakeholder Group.

As part of this campaign, ISPA’s members have nominated a number of key workers who have been working during lockdown to support and maintain the network. The full list of case studies are:

  • Virgin Media – Denny Smith, Customer Services Adviser. Although working remotely, Denny has had to continue to support vulnerable customers at this difficult time and maintain communication with his team and the rest of the Virgin Media broadband team to ensure that customers maintain connected.
  • Sky – James Cawston, Broadband Technical Expert. James’ role involves going into people’s homes and identifying faults with their broadband, and this has of course changed dramatically because of COVID-19.
  • Openreach – A selection of anonymous case studies where key workers have faced abuse, both 5G and non 5G related. Additionally there are individual case studies from Gary Williams, Precision Test Officer and Anna Hill, Network Engineer.
  • Voneus – Alan Hawthorne, Service Team Delivery Manager. Alan has continued to go into the office to ensure he can effectively manage the operation of the field team. Alan continues to do this despite the devastating news he received recently that his son’s cancer had returned.
  • Glide – Simon Wray, Field Engineer supporting the Nightingale Hospital in Bristol. Simon has had to continue operating in the field, which means a lot of exposure to people and having to do his job in full PPE gear. Despite this, he is responsible for connecting a lot of people to the internet, including a student accommodation building of overseas students who would have been trapped without any internet were it not for Simon.
  • Luminet – Simon Dempsey, Installation Leader. Simon is responsible for keeping the installers in his team safe. That means sourcing them PPE and ensuring that they can do their job smoothly. This has been a new and difficult task but Simon.
  • Zen – Mohammad Sarfaraz, Head of Technical Support. Mohammad has had to ensure the Zen network continues to operate strongly despite having to work from home. This has brought new challenges and forced himself and his team to look at new ways they can continue to offer the same levels of quality service to the network and to customers.
  • Zzoomm – Ricardo Rosario, Zzoomm installation team. Ricardo has continued to install Zzoomm fibre networks throughout the lockdown, while having to wear full PPE kit. He has to have his temperature tested daily and maintain social distancing with colleagues and customers, which can prove tricky.

Commenting on the launch of the Keeping Britain Connected campaign, the Chair of ISPA Andrew Glover said:

“The resilience of the UK network has been a huge success story during the lockdown. Despite some initial scepticism, the network has performed well and has proven to be the backbone of the UK, allowing businesses to continue operating and more importantly, helping people stay connected with their loved ones.

This has been possible not because of some miracle, but because of the thousands of telecoms key workers who have carried on with their roles to maintain and support the network. These workers have put themselves and their families at risk everyday by going out and doing their job. Many have faced new and unexpected challenges of working in lockdown. Some have even faced abuse from the public. But this has not stopped them from doing an incredible job in ensuring that the UK network continues to perform.

We want to make sure that their work does not go unnoticed, so this is why we are launching this campaign to celebrate the key workers that have been vital in keeping Britain connected.”

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

"Being able to get online has always been important but as we stay at home to save lives it is absolutely vital.

"While our internet networks were built to be resilient, dedicated telecoms engineers are still out there every day doing essential work so we can stay informed, entertained and in touch with friends and family during lockdown. So we should all applaud our brilliant mobile and broadband workers for keeping Britain connected."

Clare MacNamara, CEO of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, added:

“It is right that we should continue to celebrate these and many other essential workers from the UK’s telecoms field force who are keeping  millions of UK’s homes and businesses connected, as well as underpinning key public services during this national crisis. Digital connectivity has never been more essential to all our lives. The Broadband Stakeholder Group applauds telecoms workers up and down the country who are ensuring we have the network capacity, resilience and customer support during these critical times”