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Wireless Carriers Step It Up In Response To Fires

Discussion in 'Western US Wireless Forum' started by Andy, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Wireless Carriers Step It Up In Response To Fires
    Offer free calling and Internet services to locals....

    T-Mobile has lost thirty towers due to the Southern California wildfires; Verizon Wireless says they've lost eleven. The loss of infrastructure mixed with the surge in disaster-related traffic has obviously strained local networks.

    AT&T is offering free calls and web access at a number of locations, as is Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile has made Wi-Fi access free across all of its hotspots in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

    Locals are finding services like Google Maps and Twitter incredibly useful, as they spit out the necessary information much more quickly than cable news networks can. Maps like this one are allowing people to track the fires in real time. Meanwhile, NASA has posted the latest satellite image of the fires here.

    Wireless Carriers Step It Up In Response To Fires - Offer free calling and Internet services to locals.... - dslreports.com
     
  2. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Fires destroy phone towers, disrupt service for thousands

    By JOSEPH MENN - Los Angeles Times

    The Southern California fires wreaked havoc on cell-phone service, destroying dozens of antenna towers, causing power outages in other areas and leaving many residents with no other means of communication.

    Even where coverage was available, the surging call volume as tens of thousands of evacuees went wireless overwhelmed circuits and blocked calls from getting through.

    In San Diego County, authorities Tuesday asked residents to avoid making non-emergency calls on their cell phones, though text messaging was allowed.

    “It’s not unusual in an emergency situation,” said spokesman Joseph Farren of CTIA-The Wireless Association, an industry group.

    “Think of an L.A. highway at 6 p.m.,” Farren said. “If you have a lot of calls going in to one site, it overwhelms the site. You want to avoid that kind of rush-hour gridlock and keep the lines open for true emergencies.”

    The effect varied by carrier.

    T-Mobile said it lost 30 cell towers, though an unknown number could come back online after power is restored. Service in Ontario and Riverside east of Los Angeles was interrupted temporarily, while parts of San Diego were still without coverage late Tuesday, spokesman Peter Dobrow said.

    In other areas, calls were going through even with heavy usage, aided by mobile transmission equipment, Dobrow said.

    Verizon Wireless said 11 towers were out of commission, mainly from fire damage. Calling volume Monday jumped by 70 percent to 90 percent above normal levels, spokesman Ken Muche said. He said he had no traffic estimates for Tuesday.

    During earthquakes, Muche said volume can spike by as much as 600 percent.

    AT&T’s wireless division, on the other hand, reported serious capacity issues, especially in evacuation areas. It provided few details.

    Although 96 percent of its network was functioning, switches elsewhere were overwhelmed with added calls, spokesman Geoff Mordock said.

    Sprint Nextel Corp. didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

    “No communications network is bulletproof,” said Susan Carothers, a spokeswoman for the state Public Utilities Commission. “Having multiple communications options can be helpful but does not guarantee service availability.”

    The State | 10/24/2007 | Fires destroy phone towers, disrupt service for thousands
     
  3. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    I wonder if that's good or bad news that Sprint isn't commenting on their network. To be honest, I have yet to see Sprint comment about their network in any of the articles I've read- I have not heard about Sprint setting up phones for customers to use or any such thing.
    Also, it does not surprise me when I hear that AT&T is having major capacity issues- some areas of So. Cal were having capacity issues without this extra strain on usage.
     
  4. RJB

    RJB Gold Senior Member
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    Wirelessly posted (Palm Centro: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98; PalmSource/Palm-D062; Blazer/4.5) 16;320x320)

    well this is to bad I hope all have the ability to call
     
  5. Gman

    Gman Senior Member
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    Perhaps because I live in San Diego but I've seen a few articles with specific Sprint network information in them. They also set up a Sprint help center right at Qualcomm (largest evacuation center) to help their customers with chargers, free calls and internet access from what I recall. They were the only carrier to do so from what I read.
     
  6. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    Well I hope all the carriers keep their networks up and running.

    As for T-Mobile, wow. 30 towers is quite a lot. Hopefully they are not all total losses.
     
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  7. TelcomJunkie

    TelcomJunkie Bad Handoff Investigator
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    Larry told me he had something about the Sprint response?
     
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  8. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    They were the only carrier to do what? Set up a booth to help people make free calls?
     

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