The storms of recent days show just how vulnerable the socially important infrastructure is.
On Friday, large parts of southern Norway were hit hard by a severe storm. The Directorate General of Civil Defense and Emergency Planning (DSB) announced Sunday evening that 50 of the 2,085 base stations on the emergency network were still affected by the aftershocks. Emergency network is a digital connection between emergency services in Norway.
In some parts of Numedal, Hallingdal and Ringerike, both the emergency network and the telephone network were down, threatening life and health.
– This is a serious situation, hege Frostad Dahle, head of the communications department in Westrewigen Helsford, told NDP.
According to nodnett.no Base stations must be strong enough to withstand “push” and have good backup solutions at base stations. It states that all base stations have at least 8 hours of emergency electricity.
Only two to four hours
Several thousand base stations are connected to the mobile network, which ensures that the entire population has telephone coverage. However, in the event of a power outage due to bad weather or other unforeseen events, many of these base stations can only operate on backup power for two to four hours.
In areas inhabited by 20,000 or more people, authorities have determined that the mobile network will have a battery life of 2 hours. In areas with less than 20,000 inhabitants, the battery capacity should be maintained for 4 hours.
– I think it’s too low. We do very little. Discussions are driven by economic interests and trade exchanges. The matter is more complicated than talking about battery and backup power. At the same time as the social security and security mobile network has to work, the use of non-profit reserve capacity is quickly becoming more expensive, UIO Professor Joseph Knoll told Nettavisen.
He specializes in mobile networks and was involved in the development of the 3G network in the late 1990s.
– The main thing is to calculate the risk that the situation will be socially important, on the energy side, and can be compared with the priority cost requirement. If a base station contributes to the security of a large area, we must ensure that this base station is operational, he adds.
Zero is fully aware that a tough country like Norway will emerge, and points to factors other than the storms that could erode the socially important infrastructure from the game.
– Snow and ice break the mast and the trees fall on the base stations. So there should always be a plan to maintain minimum efficiency. Today, operators such as Telenor, Telia and Ice can determine for themselves how important a base station is and where they place the battery capacity to withstand a power outage. Nol says we should ask ourselves whether such responsibility should rest solely with the operators or whether the requirements for efficiency and availability should be compiled by the regulations.
Joseph Knoll proposes that Norway impose fines if telecom operators fail to provide socially important coverage.
– A set of rules such as “unsecured communication” would be very useful to society, Knol believes.
– Incredibly complex question
Telenor has 8400 base stations throughout Norway, and notes that it cannot be the same everywhere.
– This is an incredibly complex question. This is more than the costs. The decision to be a particular place will be affected differently. Take, for example, the power outages at Saint Hanshawgen in Oslo and Sikdal in Viken, both of which are completely different locations, says Bjன்rn Amundsen, director of coverage at Telenor, told Netavicen.
And he adds:
– It does not help long battery life alone. It is about the nodes that have the connection. What happened this weekend was a massive power outage in Westfold / Telemark and parts of Prooflat, Pitostolone and large parts of Viken from the interior. This is very unique.
According to Amundsen, many municipalities already have a mobile network with high reserve power hours.
– The National Communications Commission (NC) has a three-day reserve of power through “reinforced Ekom” transactions. Initially, there may be several base stations with a capacity of three days on diesel, but it is not very popular. We stand for a very climate friendly profile, says the Director of Coverage.
According to Nkom’s report from 2020 The 64 municipalities in Norway are part of the Ecom project.
Several hundred million kroner
He goes into more detail about the costs of having more base stations and longer battery life.
– A battery can quickly cost 50,000 kroner, so you have to pay someone to do the job. We have 8400 base stations, so it will cost hundreds of millions of kroner. Other types of solutions, such as the use of hydrogen instead of diesel, should also be considered. We are talking about large sums, says Amundsen.
– Norway’s electricity situation is completely different than Bangladesh’s. It is rare for the effects to be so bad. You will travel far and wide in this country in two to four hours. Massive modernization work is now underway on Telenor, which in two or three years will ensure that its effect on a similar situation is only part of what we now have. It is almost impossible to protect against extreme weather conditions like we had last weekend, he adds.
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