Now, this whole column could have been about the people in rural areas who are seeing copper networks dismantled with no other infrastructure available. In Stockholm County, just 6-7 miles from Sergels Torg, I hear reports of fixed telecoms lines being dismantled and replaced with fibre. Fibre that has not been rolled out and people unable to connect due to insufficient capacity in mobile networks. However, that is not the subject of my column, although it is a fundamental issue for the survival of rural areas and for people to dare to let go of the big city and move to a place where it works for working remotely or running a business via the internet.
My second foray into when no contact can be frustrating was when the cargo ship, Makassar Highway, ran aground off the northern Tjust archipelago. The 139-metre vessel changed course to get better mobile coverage on its way to Södertälje. Steering a ship with 1,200 cars and 19 crew members aground because you wanted mobile coverage is the most desperate or ill-considered way to get mobile coverage I have ever heard of. Considering the enormous costs involved and the many person-hours spent towing, cleaning up oil spills and salvaging, it must have been hard work to clean up the mess. It must have seemed incredibly pointless to those who have worked hard that the mess was caused by a drunken chief officer making a seriously wrong decision in his quest for mobile phone coverage.
My third impression is of the major fires that have raged, particularly the fighting of the big fire at the Älvdalen shooting range in Dalarna, where the performance of the Rakel network (the public Tetra system) is felt to be troublesome. The fact that mobile telephony did not work is understandable in a way, but the fact that Rakel failed does not make me feel good. The emergency services were forced to use defence satellite phones and were also about to use MC-ordonances is worrying. Imagine standing in the middle of a burning field and not getting in touch with anyone. It’s a nightmare.
I hope lessons are learned by those who should learn. A situation with no coverage in such contexts must not happen. The fact that it then took a week to get a mobile base there, as there was no place to unload it, is clearly worrying.