Ofcom has started a consultation into how mobile networks can stay operational during power cuts. But before we start making big promises, let’s figure out how we are going to pay for it.
At first glance our YouTube miniseries with Emma Willis and Ofcom’s consultation on improving the resilience of mobile networks may seem unrelated at first glance. But the two are intimately connected.
In the series, Emma had to complete a series of day-to-day tasks – but without the assistance of her smartphone, which made those tasks and her life significantly more difficult.
“What’s at the forefront of my mind at the minute, is how much I take for granted being connected,” Emma said in the first episode.
Suddenly having to make do without mobile connectivity is where Emma’s experience ties in with the Ofcom review.
Vodafone already has a reliable, award-winning network. But this Ofcom consultation will ask us to go further by ensuring our network can function for as long as possible without being connected to the National Grid, such as during a power cut. The intention is to avoid a situation where huge numbers of people would also have to make do without connectivity.
This is obviously critically important and not just for business continuity plans, where many workers would expect to be able to hotspot off their smartphones while working from home. Mobile is quickly becoming the ‘network of last resort’ as the UK switches off its ‘PSTN’ legacy analogue landlines.