As the pandemic continues, small broadband providers are having a harder time finding protective gear needed to allow workers to go into the field. “I got about four emails today from people [saying], ‘Help me get PPE, we can’t get equipment,’” Shirley Bloomfield, head of rural telecom trade group NTCA, told Politico.
Rural ISPs are turning to local distilleries for hand sanitizer and lumber yards for gloves, according to Bloomfield. USTelecom has similar anxiety among its larger ISP members and ongoing dialogue with the Department of Homeland Security.
Right now, NTCA is waiting for 600,000 cloth masks from FEMA to be delivered to a staffer’s home. There, they’ll be divided and mailed to NCTA’s 850 member companies. Though cloth masks aren’t perfect, “I think our guys are so happy that we’re able to get them anything,” Bloomfield said.