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Network down Swisscom national landline crash caused by faulty part

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(© Keystone / Melanie Duchene)

A defective component caused the Swisscom landline network to crash last Friday, affecting most of the country, Switzerland’s main telecoms operator has revealed. 

But a Swisscom official stressed to the Keystone-SDA news agency that the crash of its landline network, which affected its coverage across most cantons, had only had a small impact on the Swiss air force, which is providing security for the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos this week. 

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Swisscom said the problem with its landline network occurred on Friday morning between 10am and 11:22am on January 17. It was able to overcome the technical issue by relaunching the network. Out of 26 cantons, only Geneva, Graubünden and part of Vaud were spared. 

The operator said on Monday that technical procedures have been put into place to prevent similar outages in the future, as well as an in-depth analysis of the problem. 

Emergency numbers were affected. On Friday, Swisscom as well as the police and other emergency services, recommended to users via Twitter to use the mobile network to contact them. 

The technical fault also hit the Swiss air force. According to the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, the landlines at the army’s operations centre in Dübendorf near Zurich – from which operations are coordinated and dangers are assessed – were affected.  

Links were guaranteed

On Monday, the army clarified the extent of the problem. Army spokesman Daniel Reist said the Dübendorf centre had been contactable via the landline, but officials could not make out-going calls. 

He added that the army uses four communication systems. “With three [functioning] independent communication channels, all our links to all our partners were guaranteed all the time,” said Reist. 

World leaders, including US President Donald Trump, chief executives, thinkers and celebrities are gathering in the Swiss mountain town of Davos for the WEF meeting, which runs from January 21-24. 

Switzerland is responsible for ground and air security during the annual meeting. The defence ministry may deploy up to 5,000 of its staff, costing around CHF32 million ($33 million), which comes from the regular defence budget. Much of the support is provided via Swiss soldiers or pilots doing their regular military service training. 

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