Düsseldorf In many areas of North Rhine-Westphalia, mobile and landline networks are still disrupted. Technicians from Vodafone and Telecom are trying to get the network back on track. But it is not that easy sometimes.
no net. no connection. no connection. Whatever you want to call it – in a situation in which you fear for the safety of yourself or your loved ones, it is always fatal if the telephone, cell phone and internet do not work. But the same thing happened during the strong storm that came for the last few days. Especially in the affected areas, the network has collapsed and is often still not restored.
According to Deutsche Telekom, stable networks in the Ahr Valley and in the Eifel and Vörifel are still largely disrupted. It can sometimes take weeks to clear past disruptions. A new crisis has arisen as the Roor Dam has receded to a controlled level since midnight. “There are energy providers in the drainage area turning off power,” a telecoms spokesperson said on Friday: “As a result, various cell phone locations and landline connections are currently at least temporarily without connections.” Wuppertal also had problems. The situation is similar with competitor Vodafone.
There were many reasons for the collapse of the network, all of which can eventually be traced back to heavy rainfall. The rush of water caused a power outage, affecting the radio mast as well. Elsewhere there was a cable tear or water damage to the providers’ cable and network technology. According to a Vodafone spokesperson, the water rush has partially destroyed all the stations in which the technology was housed. With the help of the German armed forces, technicians spend all day trying to reach relevant points and get the network back up and running. Depending on the local situation, this is not so easy, which is why some attempts had to be cancelled.
Mobile radio stations consist of an antenna and an associated technical room. If the power fails, the antenna will also fail. In such a situation, mobile radio providers will typically first attempt to align nearby mobile radio stations in such a way that they temporarily compensate for the failure or at least partially compensate for it. This will reduce the quality of the connection, but at least people will be able to communicate with each other. But this possibility does not apply – as in the present case – to many mobile radio stations affected in many areas.
Hence it is hardly possible to prevent such power failure in such dire situation. “While landline and mobile network infrastructure is well protected from ‘normal’ storms, there is no effective protection against extreme conditions such as the Ahar Valley and Eifel,” a spokesperson for the telecom said. Same is the case with Vodafone. That’s why both companies insist that everything is currently being done to ensure that customers can use their connections as quickly as possible. “We know it is not just about technical restoration of local network elements, but about customers who have clear communication needs, especially in this particular situation,” Vodafone says.
On Friday evening, Vodafone Germany boss Hans Ametsreiter spoke and announced that assistance would be provided quickly using mobile base stations and the so-called instant network: “We are currently pulling together mobile radio stations from all over Germany. They come with special transporters to the disaster area and are supposed to quickly deliver reception where water has destroyed our stations or made them inaccessible,” said Amtswriter. Affected customers have their own cells. The phone should have 100 gigabytes of data book.