So Kosovo just turned off the remaining Serbian mobile phone towers:
The Kosovo Albanian authorities in PriÅ¡tina removed the equipment of all Belgrade-based mobile and landline operators this morning…
Eyewitnesses, who secured the premises, said that â€œspecial policeâ€ broke into Telekom, Telenor and VIP structures to help cut off cables and take down equipment, at around 05:00 CET.
Eyewitnesses said that workers of a “telecommunications regulatory body” from PriÅ¡tina removed transmitters and randomly severed cables.
As a consequence, 40,000 Serbs are either left without mobile service in that part of the province, or have very poor reception.
A little background. Before 1999, Kosovo was covered by Serbian mobile phone networks. Since 1999, it’s developed its own — three of them. But the Serbian networks have continued to operate towers and provide mobile telephony. Unsurprisingly, most of the users have been Kosovar Serbs in the enclaves. Meanwhile the Kosovar Albanians have been buying chips and service contracts from the three Kosovar networks.
If this sort of thing interests you, there’s more. Continue reading
British urban-exploration geeks report on their tour of a wealth of cold-war and Nazi bunkers in the former East Germany back in 2003. Thrilling and uncomfortable stuffâ€”they were the first to revisit the ultimate DDR fortress, the bunker that was built as an alternate seat of government for Erich Honecker and the rest of the Zentralkomitee. That is merely tankerpunk, of course, but I thought this was very cool indeed..
After many hours beneath the surface, we emerged from the gloom and after thanking our guide, headed off to the next site, nearly 150 miles away, the former East German PTT (Post Office Telecom, basically) satellite uplink station ‘Intersputnik’ at Neu Golm to the south east of Berlin.
The site came into service 1976 as the first (and only) ground satellite station in the GDR. Then part of the integrated international telecommunications network, â€˜Intersputnikâ€™, (which has nothing to do with the Sputnik remote transmitter sites mentioned elsewhere in this report) was one of 15 INTERSPUTNIK sites which were in service in 13 countries. These sites used to transmit telephone, fax, TV and data signals. In the Former Times, this siteâ€˜s services were also used by the then West German PTT services for satellite links to the Soviet Union, i.e. it was a non-military complex. Later, it used the Soviet satellites Stationar 4 and 5 in geostationary orbit 36,000 km over the equator, but initially used the four Soviet Molniya satellites, which were in a non-stationary orbit, i.e. the dish had to be oriented towards each of the four in turn as they came into view for a 6-hour “period of duty”. The dish could rotate through 360Â° and was so finely balanced that a 250 W drive is sufficient to rotate it. However, the entire site is now a conference centre, even if the redundant original dish (12 m in diameter and weighing, with its base, 60 tonnes) is still on the roof.
Note especially that Deutsche Telekom shared the installation with the East Germans and the Russians, a fine example of what used to be called the DDR’s secret membership in the EEC, and the difficult moral position the West Germans were regularly pressed into – between doing things that would improve life in the East (but perhaps reinforce the regime) and the desire to put pressure on the DDR leadership.