The people at Orange working to respond to Covid-19

The Coronavirus health crisis has meant Orange has had to act fast and fulfil its responsibility to ensure unprecedented service availability for people to ensure they can stay in touch with their friends and family, access news and continue to work wherever possible to mitigate business and economic impacts. Everyone should be able to count on network reliability everywhere in the world during this major peak in connectivity. This technical feat is only possible thanks to the commitment of Orange teams working day in, day out to maintain ties between communities, businesses, the public sector and healthcare workers.

Responding to the health emergency

In France and around the world, we support healthcare providers who need reliable and effective technology to respond to this situation. Orange was called upon by hospitals to roll out solutions to help manage the crisis, such as alert and call systems to simultaneously mobilise care workers. In order to safeguard hospital data, Orange Cyberdefense offered its expertise free of charge to assist the medical community in preventing cyberattacks, which unfortunately have multiplied. We also encourage our entire Group to develop emergency solutions, whether on a small or large scale, and whether digital or material. The Orange Digital Center in Tunisia, in collaboration with the Ministry for Health, is leading around 40 Solidarity FabLabs to use digital technology to produce 20,000 approved plastic face shields for healthcare professionals, which have been distributed to local hospitals.

Maintaining service continuity

The Group is working to enable all its business customers to continue operations throughout the world. Orange Business Services has increased the capacity of its networks and platforms to support the surge in secure connections, facilitate the widespread implementation of remote working and scale up customer service capabilities (including contact numbers, voice guides, chatbots, call centres and multi-channel messages) to handle the rising number of calls. A total of nearly 3,500 employees are working to maintain customers’ critical and essential operations out in the field as well as in our monitoring centres and data centres, which are vital to ensure the availability, security and integrity of our networks.

Coping with life in lockdown

During the lockdown period, all our entities are offering free extras to enable our customers to maintain ties with their family and friends. For example, Orange France has offered an additional 10GB of data to its 16 million Orange and Sosh mobile subscribers. We have also made 20 pay-TV channels available free of charge to all customers who own an Orange TV set-top box. To allow children to continue following the school curriculum as best they can, we have opened up our educational content for free and are supporting teachers throughout the world with our Digitaliada learning management system in Romania, webinars for teachers in Poland as well as free mobile connectivity to access a range of school and university content in Africa and the Middle East. Elderly people are the most at risk not only from Covid-19, but also the isolation inevitably caused by the lockdown. That’s why we have donated a number of adapted devices (mobiles, tablets and SIM cards) to hospitals, healthcare facilities and nursing homes to enable patients and residents to stay in touch with their loved ones. In France, we have also launched the #OnResteEnsemble initiative to allow everyone, whether or not they are Orange customers, to send short video clips to their parents, grandparents and friends during the ad breaks on France’s main TV channels.

Supporting public authorities

In line with our Human Inside philosophy, we have conducted a significant number of community initiatives in our operating countries. Orange has donated €8 million to support initiatives in Europe, Africa and the Middle East to prevent, protect and care for patients as well as provide essential equipment such as masks, hand gel, gloves, glasses and gowns. In France, the Minister for the Economy and Finance enlisted Orange to set up an emergency number for struggling businesses in record time. Because the lockdown can unfortunately lead to a rise in domestic violence, our teams have also developed a solution to allow the telephone operators working for France’s 3919 domestic violence helpline to continue handling calls from their homes. Furthermore, we have worked in collaboration with Inserm, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, to introduce a system to collect and analyse anonymous data to study the correlation between the lockdown measures introduced and the spread of the virus in order to anticipate ongoing waves of infection.

Rising to the challenge

We have set up a crisis unit reporting directly to Stéphane Richard and each day the Executive Committee monitors the measures taken and action put in place. Our VPN servers continue to enable our 100,000 employees throughout the world to work from home. And, above all else, we are paying special attention to the health and safety of our people working in the field by implementing extra protective hygiene and prevention measures in line with the latest health and government recommendations.