Electronic communications

Updated in 11-05-2020

In the context of the ongoing emergency responses surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Portuguese Government has enacted specific legislation enabling electronic communications operators to adopt exceptional traffic management measures in order to prevent or mitigate network congestion. This legislation appeared only days after the recent publication, on 19-03-2020, from the BEREC on coping with the increased demand for network connectivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic(1), which discusses the imminent need to adopt exceptional traffic management measures in light of the rules on open internet access established in EU Regulation 2015/2120.

The fact that, to a large extent, a significant proportion of the population will be confined to their homes for a potentially long period has already led to a sizeable increase in traffic volumes (both voice, and especially, data) on fixed and mobile networks both as a result of work-from-home policies and a more intensive use of entertainment and interactive services.

Decree-Law no. 10-D/2020 seeks to respond to these circumstances in Portugal by adopting exceptional and temporary measures for the electronic communications sector such as identifying critical electronic communications services and defining categories of priority customers. This legislation also gives operators temporary exemption from several obligations that could undermine their objectives.

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