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No communications system is perfect

Public and private telephone exchange systems can go faulty.
Private business radio systems can go faulty.
Public cellular (mobile) telephone systems can go faulty.
Scarborough public telephone exchange suffered a catastrophic fire. Normal telephone service didn't exist for a long time for miles around Scarborough.
When the 999 service fails, along with all other telephone services, the public can't contact any of the emergency services.
The likelihood of such failures is very low.  When they do occur, the problems they cause can be extensive and include loss of life.


When the Falkland Islands were invaded in April 1982, normal communications failed.  The UK government were not aware of the invasion as communications had been removed.  The UK first received reliable details of the invasion via a radio amateur in the Falklands.  The UK radio amateur was also a BBC journalist. The details were broadcast on BBC News and the UK Foreign Office contacted the BBC for more details.  The BBC News website has details of this, plus extracts of a recording of the conversation.

How BBC man scooped invasion news

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Page updated on 09 January 2017

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