In the context of the epidemiological situation of the new COVID-19, following the approval of Decree-Law 10-A/2020 of March 13th, which established an exceptional and temporary package of measures, and taking into account the declared state of emergency in Portugal, Decree-Law 10-D/2020 of March 23rd has been published.
Decree-Law 10/D/2020 establishes exceptional and temporary measures to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic, specifically in the electronic communications sector.
This document (i) identifies which electronic communications services are to be considered critical; (ii) classifies priority customers; and (iii) defines exceptional and urgent measures that providers of electronic communications networks and services must adopt to guarantee continuity of those services.
- Critical electronic communication services: the following services are considered critical: voice and short messages services (SMS) on fixed and mobile networks; emergency services; data services on fixed and mobile networks to ensure access to services identified in the annex to Decree-Law 10-D/2020; and distribution of linear television and digital terrestrial television signals.
- Priority customers: during the provision of critical services, companies offering public communications networks or electronic communications services accessible to the public, priority customers must be prioritised. For example, the following are considered priority customers: Ministry of Health and entities providing healthcare integrated into the national healthcare service network, the General Staff of the Armed Forces and branches of the Armed Forces, Social Security services, the Bank of Portugal and other independent administrative entities, operators of essential services and the owners or operators of critical infrastructure, among others.
- Exceptional measures: if necessary, exceptional measures may be implemented (for example, reserving capacity on the mobile network and prioritising repairing breakdowns and disturbances in electronic communications networks and services).
- Network and traffic management measures: companies must give priority to routing certain categories of traffic, in a specific order. Certain functionalities may be limited or inhibited (video club, video platforms and restart TV), including access to online video game services (online gaming) and point-to-point connections (P2P). Additional measures may be carried out in relation to specific applications, services or categories. The measures adopted must be disclosed within five business days and must be published in a visible place on the respective websites, and inform ANACOM.
- Public awareness: public awareness campaigns should be carried out regarding possible changes to the use of electronic communications services during the epidemic, and good practices guides should be promoted among citizens and companies, regarding the responsible use of electronic communications networks and services.
- Suspensions of obligations: among others and as better defined in the diploma, certain obligations are suspended regarding quality of service parameters, deadlines for responding to complaints from end-users, coverage, portability, security and integrity of electronic communications networks and services, and deadlines pending ANACOM's draft regulations are suspended.
- Simplification measures: certain procedures are simplified or exempted, for example: exemption from the obligation to temporarily license a station or radiocommunication network to support the mobile network and provide services to priority customers; and the authorization for certain employees or agents to move freely in Portugal, in order to ensure interventions required for the continuity of critical services and the needs of priority customers.
Decree-Law 10-D/2020 takes effect from March 20th and shall remain in force until the date when the national public health authority determines that prevention, containment, mitigation and treatment measures for COVID-19 disease should be terminated.