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Covid-19 crisis: Access to department websites zero-rated

Publish date: 08 April 2020
Issue Number: 2
Diary: Legalbrief Today

Amendments to the 26 March directive on electronic communications gazetted yesterday evening zero-rate access to all Covid-19 websites and all calls to national numbers ‘identified by the Department of Health’. ‘Emergency centres’ are required to ensure that, ‘if requested’, ‘calls about Covid-19’ are immediately connected to one of these numbers, notes Pam Saxby for Legalbrief Policy Watch.  The amendments also require licensees with access to high-demand spectrum to ‘make connectivity available’ at a minimum speed of 10 megabits per second (10mbs) to 152 district-based virtual classroom platforms. This is ‘to support virtual teaching during the Covid-19 national disaster’. Given that, in terms of the 26 March directive, electronic communications services and digital technologies are considered essential to curbing the spread of the virus, yesterday’s amendments are expected to further improve access at a reasonable cost by facilitating the removal of any remaining obstacles.

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