Orange warns of the impossibility of reaching the emergency services in the event of a cut

Will the network find itself up against the wall this winter? The anxiety of the blackout is increasingly present at RTE, the manager of the electricity network. To avoid this catastrophic scenario, the organization offers so-called “rotating” power cuts. The principle: each district will be deprived of electricity for a few hours, each in turn, in the event of difficulties on the network.

An extreme solution which will have consequences, in particular on the telephone network. In the event of a power outage, the relay antennas will no longer work, depriving the inhabitants of a mobile network, as Europe 1 explained last week. Invited on the question this Wednesday morning before the senators, the director general of Orange Christel Heydemann, ring the alarm bell.

No electricity, no backup

“I fear that our fellow citizens and the French will discover that the telecom networks depend on electricity. It is illusory to imagine putting batteries at the foot of each of the mobile sites in France”, she assures, before the commission of the Economic affairs. “And regarding emergency numbers, if mobile services are turned off for two hours in a geographic area, there will be no access to emergency number service during that time,” he said. she. For its part, the State ensures that it does everything to preserve 112, which is the only emergency number that uses the antennas of all operators.

A first dramatic cut

Objective, to cover the offloaded areas thanks to the nearest relay antennas, which are in the areas always supplied. But on the side of the professionals of the sector, the doubts are numerous, the telephone coverage being composed of relay antennas but also of nodal sites, kinds of crossroads. And if these sites are offloaded, several antennas are not powered and are therefore out of service. As a reminder, in June 2021, a breakdown affected the emergency numbers managed by Orange. The breakdown lasted seven hours and had dramatic consequences. Six people had died because they could not reach the emergency services.