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Monday, January 19, 2009

Cellular Systems To Take Hit During Inauguration

With throngs of people descending upon the US capital for a chance to see the Inauguration of President Elect Barack Obama, cellphone carriers are urging their customers to go easy on the system by delaying making calls, sending photos or text messages. “If some of these estimates come true, people should anticipate delays with regards to sending text messages or making phone calls or getting onto the Internet,” said Joe Farren, spokesman for the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. “We can only bend the laws of physics so much,” Mr. Farren said. Sort of sounds like a Scotty remark to Captain Kirk!

Interestingly, Verizon has several mobile units known as COWs and COLTs (for cells on wheels and cells on light trucks) in it's inventory that it plans to deploy to alliviate some of the anticipated strain on it's system. Carriers also have “sat COLTs,” which carry satellite dishes to send signals independent of terrestrial networks and power supplies. “You drive it where it needs to go, park it, push a couple of buttons, the mast will deploy, the dish will deploy and our generator and satellite ensures we’re fully self-contained and independent,” said Tanya Lin, manager of emergency response team operations for Sprint.

Source: NYTimes