The tiny country of Liechtenstein experienced a virtual communications blackout on Sunday when the fixed line network, all mobile phone numbers with a Liechtenstein country code, and the internet crashed.
With the country – wedged between Switzerland and Austria, and home to just 37,877 people – plunged back into the Middle Ages, police stepped up street patrols and firefighters manned their posts so that residents could, in worst-case scenarios, seek help directly from emergency services.
Police also set up a temporary emergency number on the still-functioning Swiss network, daily newspaper Liechtensteiner Vaterland reported.
Fortunately, there were no major incidents on a sunny early spring day in what is known locally as the Ländli (or “little country”).
But a police spokesperson expressed his anger about the service outage at national telecommunications carrier Telekom FL, which, in a statement, had blamed the problems on works aimed at modernising the country’s communications infrastructure.
Services were returning to normal on Sunday evening, the telco said.
This is not the first time Telekom FL services have collapsed in the constitutional monarchy which is the fourth smallest country in Europe.
In July 2017, police and fire services could not be contacted after a fire broke out in the small village of Planken.
Liechtenstein, with a total area of 160 square kilometres, has an open border with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc and ‘Swiss’ postal codes, while women in Liechtenstein use hospitals in Switzerland and Austria to give birth after the last maternity ward in the principality closed its doors several years ago.