The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, announced the launch of a global platform to help protect telecommunication networks during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

In a March 23 statement, ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said the new Global Network Resiliency Platform will “assist national policy-makers, regulators and industry stakeholders to ensure that networks are kept resilient and telecommunication services are available to all to the maximum extent possible by sharing best practices and initiatives put in place during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Further, Zhao explained that the platform will “collect relevant and trustworthy information and expertise on actions that telecommunication policy-makers, regulators and others in the regulatory community can use to ensure that their telecommunication networks and services serve the needs of their country.”

While it will initially serve as an informative tool, ITU expects the Global Network Resiliency Platform will expand and eventually serve as an “interactive and engaging platform for continuous sharing throughout this crisis and beyond.”

ITU stressed the importance of keeping telecom networks resilient during the pandemic, saying, “Never before have telecommunication networks been so vital to our health and safety, and to keep our economy and society working.”

For countries that have yet to deeply feel an impact from COVID-19, ITU said the platform will give those countries that “still have time to prepare an opportunity to learn from what is being done elsewhere.”

Zhao called on all ITU members, both from the government and the private sector, to collaborate and build “the best platform we can so that information and communication technology can help defeat COVID-19 and make us safer, stronger and more connected.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.