SIRESP communications network threatens fire season shutdown

SIRESP, Portugal’s public-private ‘emergency communications network’ – so often in the news for its failures – is threatening a shut down of vital satellites over the summer fire season unless it gets paid.

Say reports today, the State owes the company largely controlled by French operator Altice more than €11 million.

If the money owed for improvements made since the deadly wildfires of 2017 doesn’t come through, there is the possibility of SIRESP declaring insolvency in September.

Jornal de Notícias claims the government has been warned repeatedly over the consequences of non-payment.

Other reports say the ‘deadline’ for coming up with a solution runs out today.

Whatever the situation, the truth is that next month sees the start of the ‘fire season’, which extends in varying degrees to October.

SIRESP’s satellites are part of an upgrade to make-good the devastating failings during 2017’s wildfires.

The government committed itself to paying its share of the upgrade, but the Accounts Court has reportedly twice vetoed payments, “due to failures in documentation”.

Today (Friday) will see this ‘hot potato’ as just one of the latest emergencies Portugal’s Socialist executive has to deal with.

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