Andorra Telecom stands by the citizens to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19. Ensuring connectivity, essential during confinement or social isolation, is based on improvements to the internet network, international connections and the reinforcement of mobile phone services. The infrastructure guarantees record consumption due to teleworking and intensive domestic use.
The structure of the internet network is expanded to 70 GB, while international communications are guaranteed with connections of up to 30 GB with both France and Spain.
We also boosted mobile phones with the expansion of the 4G mobile network speed up to 1 Gbps in Andorra la Vella, Escaldes-Engordany and Pas de la Casa, the same capacity that ensures intensive peaks during periods of maximum tourist influx.
Andorra Telecom also took advantage of the customer-supplier relationship with Huawei to bring medical supplies to Andorra. From the company we delivered to the Government 100,000 protective masks for Covid-19 offered by the Chinese technology at a time of difficulty to supply the international market. The donation includes 70,000 surgical masks and 30,000 more FFP2 type masks, for maximum protection and used exclusively by health personnel.
The complicated situation of companies affected by the total or partial suspension of activity due to the health crisis has led us to apply a series of discounts to support companies and the self-employed. These actions are part of the package of exceptional measures approved by the Government to address the impact of the health emergency.
Self-employed workers and small businesses that close down in response to the decree of exceptional measures are exempt from paying the monthly subscription fees for internet access and telephone services. The company also applies a rebate of 80% or 100% of the subscription fee for landlines, internet access and connectivity services for the duration of the health alert.
In the case of bigger companies whose business is on hold, they are also exempted from the payment of subscription fees for connectivity services, including: Landline services for companies, voice channels for IP PBXs (SIP-T), XVC virtual PBXs, High-Capacity Business Internet, Internet access modules and the Nodes FTTH Intranet. Discounts of 80% were also established for the same concepts in the case of partial unemployment.
These measures are in addition to the option for companies to defer or split the payment of communications invoices within a period of up to 12 months without interest.
The total amount of discounts for the self-employed and companies, which benefit around 5,500 customers, and other support measures will amount to 1.6 million euros in 2020.
The emergence of coronavirus forces institutions to devote time and financial and human resources to combating its health, economic and social effects. Andorra Telecom was aware from the outset of the need to provide support to administrations that have the difficult task of managing the crisis.
The use of the SMS number 828 channels the charitable donations of the citizens. Sending a short message with the word "help" allows you to make a donation of two euros. The 63,000 euros raised are used by the administration to pay for health material and to help the most vulnerable groups such as the elderly or people with more specific conditions that make them more at risk.
Our technical teams are also focused on the connectivity needs of the coordination and action centres in the face of the crisis, such as the stoplabs or the public appearances of the authorities. The internet connection of the socio-sanitary residences is also reinforced in order to favour contact between older people and their families, and for students to follow their online lessons.
Andorra Telecom also lends its support to help finance the expenditure generated by the pandemic. On May 7, the general meeting of shareholders agreed to the extraordinary distribution to the Government for a total amount of 20 million euros from the company's reserves.
The pandemic has highlighted how important it is to ensure the connectivity of families to ensure the right to education. Andorra Telecom has focused much of its public responsibility efforts on ensuring a fast and efficient internet service in schools with the Andorran National Education Network. The confinement forces us to pay attention to another element, such as ensuring access to the network for all schoolchildren and providing them with the devices they need.
The collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and Andorra Telecom has allowed a total of 33 students to enjoy internet access so that they can follow classes at a distance. This action was completed with the donation of digital tablets by the Ministry of Education to those students who do not have them to guarantee them access to digital teaching materials.
The possibility of broadcasting content through the television platform aimed at students is also being considered. Andorra Telecom has activated the France 4 educational channel during the lockdown in order to facilitate the continuity of the school program for students in the French educational system. The channel has the newly created space Learning Nation, which broadcasts live classes of teachers in the French public system.