US & World

Dutch emergency services hit by KPN telecoms outage

KPN logo is seen at its headquarters in Rotterdam, NetherlandsImage copyright Reuters
Image caption The disruption originated from the network of national carrier Royal KPN

The Netherlands has been hit by its largest telecommunications outage in recent history, with emergency service numbers knocked out across the country.

The disruption, which lasted four hours, originated from national carrier Royal KPN, and affected other providers linked to its network.

KPN said the cause was still unclear but did not appear to be a hack.

“We have no reason to think it was (a hack) and we monitor our systems 24/7,” a company spokeswoman told Reuters.

Landlines and mobile phones linked to the KPN network were also affected.

Speaking to news channel Nieuwsuur, KPN board director Joost Farwerck said the network had been backed up to prevent any malfunction, but the backups had not worked.

During the disruption, additional police were sent on to streets around the country.

Authorities also advised people to go directly to hospitals or to police or fire stations for any emergencies.

The government response prompted a backlash after people trying to dial the 112 emergency services number were told to contact a number used by editors of local newspaper De Telegraaf.

An alert was later sent out with the correct number, images of which have been posted by social media users.

Justice and security minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus told De Telegraaf that the ministry was investigating how the wrong number was given out.

“Was it an office prank or was there really no plan?,” tweeted Dutch Green politician Kathalijne Buitenweg.

KPN is not the only telecoms provider to suffer network problems recently. Earlier this month, Vodafone experienced a “disruption” to its mobile and fixed-line broadband services, affecting subscribers in the UK and several other countries.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48753095

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