Mobile phone networks across Europe are at risk of blackout this winter in the case of power cuts or energy rationing, Reuters reports. According to four telecom executives, there are not enough back-up systems to handle widespread power cuts.
Europe has nearly 500,000 telecom towers and most of them have battery backups that only last about 30 minutes. Regulators, telecom operators, equipment manufacturers and electricity companies across the EU are working to find solutions to this challenge.
With the EU’s energy crisis in full swing, concern over the potential for energy blackouts is mounting with the advancing cold weather season. The telecom industry is one of many industries in the region facing the possibility of blackouts this winter.
As recently as fifteen years ago, the prospect of a mobile outage due to a power blackout might not have been considered deserving of the same level of concern as power being cut off to a hospital or an absence of heat from residential areas in the dead of winter. Since then, however, mobile connectivity has become virtually essential to daily life across the globe.
As most telecom towers across the region have battery backups that only last a half hour, it is fair to say that the industry was unprepared for an energy crisis impacting its crucial infrastructure. The looming possibility of unpredictable mobile outages of indeterminate length affecting millions of customers has prompted telecom MNOs (along with regulators and utilities) to take action.
Energy shortages are projected to be one of the major challenges facing the 21st century. This predicament is therefore one we expect to resurface for the telecom industry (and others) in the coming decades. While the measures implemented by MNOs may only aim to address this immediate crisis, it will be necessary for them to develop a more long-term solution going forward.