Gaza telco on verge of collapse after invasion

The Gaza strip is on the verge of losing contact with the outside world following recent Israeli air-strikes and ground attacks, Palestinian telco Paltel has warned.

As a result of the attacks, 90% of Paltel's mobile network is down, as well as a large number of fixed lines, the company has announced.

Paltel's telecom infrastructure has suffered severe damage, with only one of "several alternatives" allowing outside connections remaining online. A number of switchboards, mobile masts and transmission towers have been completely destroyed.

At least three technicians have died, and several others have been injured, while attempting to repair the damage.

Services have also been "extremely affected" by the cutting off of electricity - and the inability of technicians to reach the operator's backup generators to refuel. 

Paltel has warned that loss of connectivity could seriously hamper the humanitarian and medical emergency efforts in the region.

Israeli news source Arutz Sheva has reported that Hamas leaders have been reduced to rely on walkie-talkies as a means of communication.

Australian operator Telstra has offered free calls to the Gaza region free until January 15. The operator has warned customers to keep calls as brief as possible to avoid further congesting the network.

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