Oslo emergency phonelines cut

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Telenor took responsibility for a glitch in the early hours of Friday morning that caused Oslo emergency lines 110, 112 and 113 fire, police and ambulance assistance to drop out, either intermittently or completely. The lines were down for several hours from around 4am, and police weren’t sure on Friday morning exactly what the consequences of the phone outage had been.

Police in Asker og Bærum said they had a breakthrough in the case on Thursday, leading to the arrest of a man suspected of raping two five-year-old girls. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Emergency lines dropped out in the early hours of Friday morning completely in Oslo, and intermittently in in Asker og Bærum. Telenor admitted the fault was with its network, but couldn’t say exactly what had gone wrong. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Shortly after 7am, Telenor reported the emergency numbers were operational again, but that calls to lines 02800, 110, 112 and 113 were still unstable. “It looks like 112 is now working,” Martin Strand, the head of the Oslo police operations centre told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “Telenor has now corrected the error in its network, so we strongly believe everything is now in order. But I cannot confirm 100 percent that all calls are going through.”

“It is very worrying for us when neither the emergency numbers or our switchboard number is working,” said Strand. He said there was no alarm letting police know the lines had dropped out, and they discovered the error around 4am purely because the phones were unusually quiet.

“The data technology that this runs on is vulnerable,” explained Strand. “We must simply realize that. What is good is that we have systems that quickly implement work to get things in place. But usually the emergency number is then transferred over to another police district when we have an error, but that was not possible this time.” Police eventually established alternative emergency numbers, on 474 57 712 and 404 35 994.

Unclear how many were affected
Strand told NRK it was not yet clear how many people in an emergency situation were impacted by the outage. “We have information about that, but we don’t have an overview yet,” he said. “We can only hope this did not have consequences for anyone.”

The medical emergency line 113 also had major problems. “We can see who’s calling, if you’re not ringing from a hidden number,” said Børge Einrem from Oslo University Hospital (Universitetssykehus) in a message to NRK. “If we don’t answer or the line is cut, we ring back as quickly as we can.”

The scope of the outage was also unclear. Both Asker and Bærum police districts also reported unstable phone lines, but said they did not have serious issues.

Telenor said it was working to identify what went wrong, and could not rule out further outages. “We have had a drop-out on the fixed network, where the emergency numbers were also affected,” said head of communications, Knut Sollid. “It mainly affected the fixed line telephones in the Oslo area. We could not make contact with fixed line numbers, either in or out. I cannot with certainty say why. We have had a software update during the night, and that could be the reason.”

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate