Swisscom resolves nationwide emergency number breakdown

This is the second such national breakdown in 18 months. Keystone / Martial Trezzini

Emergency telephone numbers are working again in Switzerland after a technical failure caused a nationwide outage late Thursday, the national operator Swisscom said on Friday morning. This is the second such national breakdown in 18 months.

This content was published on July 9, 2021 minutes

Emergency numbers in many parts of Switzerland, including cities such as Zurich, Basel and Geneva, were unavailable from 11.45pm on Thursday until 7.53am on Friday.

Swisscom has identified the source of the problem and is investigating the technical failure.

The breakdown hit the emergency numbers 112 and 117 (police), 118 (fire service), and 144 (ambulance). The outage seemed to only affect landline connections. By contrast, mobile connections were not affected, Swisscom said.

Emergency services in Switzerland can also be contacted using alternative numbers in each canton found on the Alert Swiss websiteExternal link.

A similar breakdown to the Swiss emergency numbers occurred on February 12, 2020. That day the numbers 117, 112, 144 and 118 were unavailable for over 1.5 hours in 11 cantons, due to an “unexpected malfunction” at Swisscom. A report published in June by the Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) warned about the “particularly high degree of complexity which can influence the risk of error” in the Swisscom network. OFCOM recommended studying the possibility of implementing a new system.

In neighbouring France, a similar emergency number failure last June reportedly resulted in the death of five people who were unable to contact the emergency services in time, according to the French authorities.

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