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Telecom Techs Seek to Up COVID-19 Vaccine Status

A close-up image of COVID-19
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The association representing broadband buildout contractors and other infrastructure workers wants to make sure they can get COVID-19 vaccines ASAP given the importance of insuring connectivity during a pandemic.

NATE, the Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, is asking the CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Governors Association give telecom technicians "frontline essential" status in the hierarchy of vaccinations, which would mean getting the vaccine earlier than their current designation.

That came in letters to all three.

"As you know all too well, the pandemic has dramatically altered the way we live, with so many Americans forced to work, study and play remotely. It would be impossible for people to function – conduct everyday business, bank, learn, utilize telehealth services and simply communicate, all while minimizing exposure – without the wireless and broadband connectivity made possible by telecom technicians," NATE told the CDC. "And without the services they provide, our economy, homeland security and safety would be severely compromised."

It is not asking that those workers be allowed to cut the line in front of or alongside healthcare workers or those in long-term care facilities, it made clear, but that their "essential service workforce" be elevated to Phase 1b along with other "frontline essential" workers.

Currently Phase 1B, according to CDC, includes: "first responders (e.g., firefighters and police officers), corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the education sector (teachers and support staff members) as well as child care workers."

Currently, telecom technicians are in the next phase, 1c ("all other essential workers) along with food service workers, bank tellers, media, and IT workers, among others.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.