Residents near Central Prisons in Nicosia got some answers over the lack of phone signals in their neighbourhood over the weekend, with officials pointing to a cell phone jammer that was simply too strong.
Last weekend, residents in the Agios Andreas borough in downtown Nicosia were left with no mobile phone signal for three days, from Friday until Monday, prompting their community leader to seek answers from Central Prisons.
Prison officials assured the Agios Andreas on Friday that jamming technology, which is being installed at the penitentiary, had been switched off during the weekend.
The problems were caused by the company that deactivated the new system only partially for the weekend, while it should have been switched off completely over the weekend
But it turned out later that the cell phone jammer was left on and forgotten through the entire weekend, causing some residents to have dropped calls while others could not have access to the networks altogether.
Central Prisons are currently testing a new cell phone jamming system, according to reports, with officials from the contracting company trying out different settings to determine the appropriate strength.
A government statement on Monday said the problems were caused by the company that deactivated the system only partially for the weekend, while the system ought to have been disengaged completely over the weekend over all areas.
State authorities said they would not sign off until the company got the strength and range just right.
Officials said local residents can be informed about future tests through the media, adding that the system was being tested through the trial and error method.
Residents drive away to get signal
Reports from Agios Andreas said some residents, who have ditched their landlines altogether, were forced over the weekend to get in their cars and drive away until they got a signal to make a call or send a message.
Cell phone jammers can be adjusted to disrupt only a very precise area through a process called “micro-jamming,” while it could take a number of days for such testing to be completed.