Germany deploys vans to map mobile black spots
On a street in Wusterhausen, about an hour’s drive north of Berlin, a man walks intently with his mobile phone in front of him.
“I’m looking for a network, because this area here is not good,” says Eric Karasinski, in town on a business trip from Poland.
Problems with the phone signal are a constant source of frustration for residents of Wusterhausen, which is located in one of Germany’s many black spots, beyond the reach of any mobile network.
“We are here in Germany, an industrial country, and we have all these dead zones,” says Matthias Noa, president of waste management company AWU.
Noah was so angry that when the local government asked him if they could use his garbage trucks to do something about it, he quickly agreed.
Since the summer, trucks have been equipped with a measuring device Signal quality On their ways through the county of Ostprignitz-Ruppin.
Because their work takes them everywhere throughout the region, they are an ideal vehicle for the job.
“We go out on the ground, in every corner,” says Werner Noyes, deputy head of the local council, who was unhappy with the efforts of public bodies or private groups to plan for signaling problems.
Jonny Basner, co-driver of the program, knows the problem all too well. “It would be great if I had enough signal to get to the warehouse from the villages (on the road),” he says.
Trackers were handed out to hikers and cyclists to fill in the gaps left by garbage collectors.
On the map, Nuese indicates the spots marked in red where the signal is at its worst.
Even if this is a file rural areas In northeastern Germany, we should not forget. This is what we want.”
‘on the balcony’
A short walk shows the problems people face.
“Outside on the balcony, I can get a signal, but at home there is nothing, and no one can call me on the phone,” says Dieter Muller of the village of Pantico.
About 10 kilometers (six miles) away in Wusterhausen itself, Marko Neuendorf says he canceled his phone contract “because there is simply no signal here”.
Local officials believe that the area will become more attractive to investors and tourists if the mobile phone network is better.
“Every home industry is becoming digital, every electrician is using a tablet to order parts. It’s not just the big companies that are the most digital,” Noah says.
The Nuese council official says spas in the area receive poor reviews “because the signal is so bad”.
“It’s a measurable economic disadvantage,” he says.
The aging of much of Germany’s infrastructure and administration has risen to the top of the political agenda with Chancellor Angela Merkel leaving office a year ago.
According to official data, the coverage of the standard LTE, equivalent to 4G, is 100 percent.
But in a Verivox price comparison survey published earlier this year, most people said they regularly experience a lack of signal when using their phones.
In 2018, then-Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said he was “extremely upset about having to call back three or four times because the call was cut off” when making calls from his car on official business.
By producing more detailed signal maps, the council hopes to encourage the response of mobile operators and put pressure on the government for more support.
© 2022 AFP
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