KPN annual report: The Netherlands in digital acceleration due to COVID-19

Today KPN publishes the integrated annual report 2020: "Accelerating digitalization of the Netherlands". In his introduction, CEO Joost Farwerck looks back on a special year in which KPN did everything it could to keep the Netherlands connected while digitization in society accelerated. Interestingly, compared to the energy needed to keep the network of the Netherlands running, KPN customers jointly saved three times as much energy by collaborating digitally than was needed for the network of the Netherlands, according to the annual report.

Accelerating digitalization
The influence of COVID-19 is visible in many areas and impacted our way of working and living. The usage of the KPN network showed large peaks as people worked from home and schools closed, resulting in online education. The network of the Netherlands was well able to cope with the increased traffic flows.

“The new reality underscores the vital importance of connectivity and a resilient digital infrastructure. The digital transformation of the Netherlands has accelerated, with lasting impact for many industries”, CEO Joost Farwerck says in the introduction to the annual report.

In a number of case studies, KPN shows how customers, such as the Dutch Railways, the OLVG hospital, the Safety Regions and the Rijksmuseum, have dealt with the changes in their industry and how they view the role of digitalization in the future.

3.7 billion avoided kilometers
In the past year, KPN customers jointly saved more than three times the amount of energy needed to keep KPN's network running, just by using the digital services over the network of the Netherlands. It shows that digitalization is an important accelerator for sustainability.

In 2020 and due to COVID-19, the Netherlands started to massively work from home and children partly attended online school lessons. We traveled a lot less and in doing so avoided emissions in traffic. Working digitally via telephone and Internet saved 7.5 Petajoules, that’s more than three times as much energy as needed to run the network. Customers saved 277 million liters of fuel and avoided 3.7 billion kilometers in travel. The higher energy consumption at home has been taken into account.

Traditionally, the telecom sector is one of the largest energy consumers in the Netherlands. During 2020, KPN again succeeded in further reducing its energy consumption leading to a total decrease of 37% in ten years. During the same period, data traffic showed an exponential, 21-fold increase.

Connected society
In addition to its commitment to providing customers with good service, KPN last year helped hospitals with additional call centers and digital workplace capacity and businesses were able to upgrade their security protocols. School-aged children who do not have the option of taking online lessons from home were also facilitated by the provision of equipment and connections. In addition, KPN developed an IoT solution with partners to monitor ventilation in schools, so that windows did not have to be opened unnecessarily.

Annual General Meeting of Shareholders
On 14 April 2021, KPN will hold its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, where the Integrated Annual Report 2020 will be presented. In addition to the announced appointment of Mr. Gerard van de Aast as member of the Supervisory Board, the agenda, which will be published shortly, also includes the reappointment of Mr. Edzard Overbeek as a member of the Supervisory Board.

The Integrated Annual Report 2020 is available online on www.kpn.com/annualreport.