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Europe Braces for Mobile Network Blackouts

Mobile blackouts
Officials express concern that a harsh winter would put Europe’s telecommunication infrastructure to the test. Credit: HLundgaard , CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikipedia

Power outages or energy rationing could cause blackouts to a portion of the mobile networks throughout Europe, International Business Times (IBT) reveals.

As a result of Russia’s decision to stop gas delivery through Europe’s primary supply route due to the Ukrainian situation, the likelihood of power shortages has increased. The shutdown of numerous nuclear power facilities in France for maintenance has worsened the problem.

Officials from the telecoms industry, according to the report, are worried that a severe winter will put Europe’s telecommunication infrastructure to the test and force organizations and governments to take preventative measures.

According to four telecom executives, speaking to IBT, there are currently insufficient backup systems in many European nations to handle large power failures, which increases the risk of mobile phone disruptions.

Attempts are being made by European Union nations to ensure that communications can continue even in the event of power outages, which could result in the hundreds of backup batteries on cellular antennas dispersed throughout the nations running out. These nations include France, Sweden, and Germany.

Mobile infrastructure may face blackouts

Around 500,000 telecom towers may be located in Europe, and the bulk of them have battery backups that can run mobile antennae for roughly 30 minutes.

IBT says that according to experts, the worst-case scenario under France’s proposed plan by electricity distributor Enedis could see power outages lasting for up to two hours.

Only some areas of the country would experience the general blackouts on a rotational basis. The sources further stated that vital services including hospitals, law enforcement, and the government will not be impacted.

Telecom officials worry that a severe winter could challenge Europe’s telecom infrastructure, forcing organizations and governments to take preventative measures.

The French government and sources claimed that during the summer, discussions on the subject took place with telecom companies, Enedis, a division of the state-controlled utility EDF, and other parties.

Enedis came under fire from the French Federation of Telecoms (FFT), a lobbying organization that represents Orange, Bouygues Telecom, and Altice’s SFR, for failing to exclude antennas from power outages.

Enedis responded to Reuters by stating that all regular customers would be treated similarly in the event of extraordinary outages.

It was asserted that it may isolate parts of the network to service priority clients, such as hospitals, significant industrial facilities, and the military, and that it was the responsibility of local authorities to include telecom operators infrastructure on the list of priority clients.

A member of the French finance ministry with knowledge of the negotiations said, “Maybe we’ll improve our knowledge on the matter by this winter, but it’s not easy to isolate a mobile antenna from the rest of the network.”

The IBT author says that Telecoms in Sweden and Germany have also warned the governments about impending electricity shortages. This information is based on multiple sources with knowledge of the issue.

According to the Swedish telecom regulator PTS, it is working with telecom providers and other governmental agencies to identify solutions. This includes discussions about what would occur if the electricity were to go out.


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