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INCA brings events online, offers clarification for key workers

The Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) is to move all of its planned events online, and make a reduction in costs for all those participating. The association is working remotely, but this has always been the case due to the distributed-basis of operation, so INCA is confident that there will be no major changes or disruption to operations.

The organisation is also supporting its network of alternative network provider members by disseminating information from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). It said in a statement: ‘The DCMS telecoms COVID hub has received several queries about the Prime Minister’s statement. We have managed to get a few clarifications from the Cabinet Office on a few points.’ 

These include confirmation that phone shops should close to the general public, with the possibility of key workers using the space to provide essential customer support services. This is the case as long as the shops remain closed to the public and social distancing measures can be maintained for the employees. 

INCA also asked whether network maintenance and repair crews and network roll-out crews may still operate on the same site if there are more than two workers, which they can - although it is important that they try to stay 2m away from each other where practical. The Cabinet Office is due to publish further guidance on how such crews can prove they are key workers if the police are trying to disperse them as ‘gatherings’ and INCA suggests, in the interim, that a sensible step to avoid problems would be for workers to carry a note on headed notepaper, confirming that they are telecoms key workers and that more than two of them are required on site to do the job.

Said INCA: ‘For now, if you have designated workers as key workers then they may continue to come to work if there is no other alternative. Obviously as responsible employers you should further endeavour to make sure the places they are working in can conform to social distancing advice.’

Confirmation was provided that engineers who have been designated as key workers may still go to people’s homes but, obviously, it cannot be guaranteed that residents will allow access. The association recommends that whatever workarounds you can agree on a 'x' industry basis to avoid engineers having to enter people’s premises but still maintain connectivity to them are used – even down to passing cable via a window.

INCA concluded by reassuring: ‘Of course it goes without saying that INCA is here to help, so don't hesitate to get in touch. We'll be keeping in touch via email and using online meeting and conferencing with Zoom to support our members and the sector as a whole. We recognise that the current situation may be challenging for some of our member organisations. We will be looking for ways that we can help, so let us know if there is anything that we can do. Our focus remains on supporting our members in pursuit of delivering world class connectivity across the UK.’



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