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Phone service holds up pretty well, actually

John Moe Aug 29, 2011

Alright, I’ll eat that serving of crow this morning. On Friday’s memo I predicted that cell service would collapse everywhere in the coming onslaught of Hurricane Irene. After all, if it couldn’t withstand a slight earthquake, how would it do in a Hurricane? The New York Times says fine. All the carriers are saying that disruption of cell service was minimal. And apparently no 911 centers ever lost their phone capabilities.
The difference between this and the quake was preparation. People were prepared to be without power, to be knocked off line a little bit. They were able to use email. No one freaked out. So now we know: sudden emergencies, things fall apart, planned emergencies, things hold up.

Don’t pop the champagne yet, though. The FCC says cell service may get worse after Irene. As back-up batteries begin to lose strength, networks will begin to fail.

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