▷ Flood disaster: Why the Bundeswehr telephones didn’t work

30.10.2021 – 03:00

Westphalia sheet

Bad Münstereifel (ots)

A decade-old order by the Federal Network Agency was the reason why helpers in the flood disaster were initially unable to use their satellite phones. According to satellite radio operators, the area around the radio telescope in Bad Münstereifel (North Rhine-Westphalia) is the only zone in the world in which the use of satellite telephones is technically prohibited. Jordan Hassin, spokesman for the US satellite telephone company Iridium from Virginia, told WESTFALEN-BLATT: “We have official instructions from Germany not to offer our service near the telescope in Effelsberg. There is no other restricted zone of this kind anywhere in the world.”

The Federal Network Agency had already obliged satellite telephone companies at the end of the 1990s to block their services within a radius of 30 kilometers from the radio telescope. This is to prevent interference with the reception of radio waves from space. After the flood in July, this meant that the Bundeswehr could not use its satellite telephones in parts of the disaster area.

The Bundeswehr knew nothing about the protection zone, and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, as the operator of the 100-meter parabolic antenna, had no idea that the soldiers were dependent on satellite radio. The physicist Benjamin Winkel, who works in Effelsberg, told WESTFALEN-BLATT: “When we heard about the difficulties of the Bundeswehr in July, the Federal Network Agency was immediately asked to lift the protection zone”. Jordan Hassin from Iridium: “We did that immediately on the instructions of the Federal Network Agency.”

The radio telescope in the Eifel was built 50 years ago and enables scientists to look into distant celestial systems.

Press contact:

Westphalia sheet
Christian Althoff
Phone: 0521 585-261
[email protected]

Original content from: Westfalen-Blatt, transmitted by news aktuell


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