Federal Council wants to block certain websites in the event of a power shortage

In the event of a power shortage, the Federal Council wants to make it more difficult to transmit large amounts of data on the mobile network and block certain websites. It submitted a corresponding draft ordinance for consultation on Wednesday.

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Such a scenario is currently considered unlikely. However, in order to prevent a collapse of the power supply in an emergency, industry-specific measures are also needed, the Federal Council announced. Telecommunications is another sector that has drawn up proposals to reduce electricity consumption.

According to the proposal, certain websites would be blocked as a first step. This would affect frequently used platforms for social media, videos and music. The aim is to reduce data traffic. The Federal Council does not specify which platforms are involved. The platforms to be blocked will only be determined in the event of a crisis, as stated in a document for consultation.

Gradual switch-off

Frequency bands would then be switched off in stages. In the first phase, the high mobile radio frequency bands, in the second the medium ones. According to the federal government, this could lead to more difficult data transmission and therefore to a lack of data connections, among other things.

As a final measure, ten percent of the macro antenna sites will be switched off. This would lead to restrictions in the quality of mobile coverage, it said. However, basic operation will remain possible.

"However, network shutdowns or an uncontrolled network collapse would have far more serious consequences for telecommunications," the Federal Council wrote.

Second industry solution

The consultation on measures to reduce the consumption of electrical energy in mobile communications will run until May 21.

This is the second consultation on an industry solution. In an electricity shortage situation, the Federal Council stated that the quota system for large consumers is an important measure to prevent grid shutdowns. However, specific solutions are needed for individual services relevant to the basic supply.

In autumn 2023, a proposal was submitted for consultation that would allow public transport and rail freight transport to continue to fulfill their basic mission, at least in part, in the event of a power shortage.

The planned measures in public transport would include a general thinning out of services, the cancellation of special trains, shorter train compositions and, on the roads, the replacement of electric buses with diesel buses. In the worst-case scenario, freight transport would be restricted to vital goods such as medical supplies, army supplies and food.

A proposal for the wastewater treatment plants also follows. (SDA)

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