A Swift Response

No service

The government has said that it has no plans to foce mobile phone operators to extend their coverage throughout country parks.  Predictably enough, politicians have been making a fuss about this.

Ten years ago, most people didn't have mobile phones, calls were expensive and coverage was patchy.  That has all changed, and now we expect people to be contactable 24/7 - even if they are on the MTR, in a tunnel, overseas, or even on a plane.  You can pay extra so that if you are up to no good in Macau or in China your wife hears a Hong Kong ringing tone and is none the wiser (maybe).  You can even read your email in a taxi or sitting on the beach.

Except that there are a few places where you really can escape from phone coverage.  Apparently there are about 40 "blind spots" in Hong Kong county parks where mobile phones don't work.  Oh dear.  As recently as five years ago, I don't think anyone would even have expected to be able to use their mobile phone in a remote location, and people managed to cope with this inconvenience.   

Yet now it seems that some people regard it as a terrible thing.  From the SCMP (do I still have to mention that you need a subscription to read this?):

Legislator Li Kwok-ying, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said he was disappointed. In recent research the DAB identified more than 40 blind spots in popular hiking areas including Sai Kung and Lantau Island and the northern New Territories.

"I feel sad the government refuses to pressure mobile phone operators to improve their service," Mr Li said. "It is putting business before the safety of people."

How much does a walkie-talkie cost?  Not much.  Or if want to go upmarket, I understand that the companies that provide satellite phones are always looking for more business.  Pricey maybe, but you should always put safety before financial considerations, right?


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The logical conclusion of the DAB policy on mobile phone coverage is that the HK Govt ought dispense with chip-embedded ID cards and instead compulsorily embed mobile-telephony enhanced ID chips in our skulls.

That would save a lot of time for the rescue teams, Immigration Department and Security Branch.

The embedding and monitoring contract would be awarded without tender to Li Ka Shing.

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