Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Site Notices
1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 12/12/2001 2:53:13 PM EST
[url]http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/12/nyregion/12CELL.html?searchpv=nytToday[/url] December 12, 2001 U.S. Considers Restricting Cellphone Use in Disasters By JAYSON BLAIR ederal officials are working on a plan to close cellphone networks to almost everyone but government officials in the event of another major emergency like the Sept. 11 attacks, officials said. The move is intended to prevent the networks from being so clogged with calls that emergency workers cannot communicate. But there is some concern among cellphone companies about the costs and the possible public outcry if people cannot contact loved ones in an emergency. Cellular telephone companies reported after the attacks that sales had surged among those who wanted cellphones in case of an emergency. Although the cellphone networks were overloaded during the attacks, many people in the towers and doomed jetliners were able to call loved ones, and those who were safe were also able to contact family and friends. Passengers on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, are believed to have helped bring the plane down after finding out about the attacks in cellphone calls. The new system would give calls from local, state and federal government officials first priority during emergencies. Federal officials had planned to have a temporary system running in Washington, New York and Salt Lake City by the end of January, but the concerns of the cellular companies are so great that they are backing away from a quick deployment. In October, the National Communications System, a government agency in Arlington, Va., that advises the White House on telecommunications issues, said that it had received a commitment from Verizon Wireless to shut the networks to almost all but official traffic in case of an emergency in those cities in time for the 2002 Winter Olympics in February at Salt Lake City. But Verizon officials dispute that, saying that they were never that close to an agreement. Government officials said that the public inconveniences notwithstanding, the system is necessary to protect national security.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 2:55:25 PM EST
"Cellphone usage by the general public in emergency situations results in congestion in wireless networks, which has prevented national security and emergency response personnel from obtaining access during emergencies and natural disasters," the N.C.S. said in a statement at the time, adding that when landline networks are damaged, cellphones may be clogged further. Yesterday, Stephen Barrett, an N.C.S. spokesman, said that the talks were stalled. "Right now we can't do much of anything, because we are still working on negotiations." Discussions about virtually turning over cellphone networks to the government in an emergency have been under way for several years, federal officials said, but plans were accelerated after Sept. 11. In New York, dozens of cellphone towers were knocked out of service at the trade center, as well as emergency communications systems on the roof of the north tower. Government officials say that as few as one in every 20 calls connected that day. In addition, 200,000 regular telephone lines were knocked out after a Verizon central office near the trade center was damaged, further hurting emergency communications. Government officials said that the priority system had the support of The New York Police Department, the New York Fire Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency, which all suffered major communications problems in the days after the attacks when their offices were destroyed or phone service went down because of Verizon's problems. N.C.S. officials said that the initial system they were working on would guarantee that 2,000 government officials in Washington, New York and Salt Lake City would be able to make wireless calls in an emergency. It would later be expanded to give priority to calls from 15,000 government workers in each city and then 50,000 workers in each city, officials said. The N.C.S. goal is to have a nationwide system in place by 2002. Under the system outlined by the N.C.S., government officials would be given an access code to allow priority calls. Each code would be assigned one of five priority levels. The system will not be unlike the one for regular landline calls, which gives priority to calls from certain telephone numbers. The main difference for consumers, would be that the cellular networks have nowhere near the capacity of landline networks, making it more likely that most of the public would not be able to use cellphones in an emergency.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 2:56:29 PM EST
In addition to concern about impact on consumers, cellular companies said that the price tag could be as much as $2 billion nationwide, about the same cost as the cellular 911 system. It is unclear who will have to pay to the network equipment and upgrades to computer systems to support the system. Cellular phone companies have advocated government financing. Officials say that because of the potential costs, taking a piece of the cellular spectrum, building and maintaining a new wireless network with thousands of hubs and computers, and only using it in emergencies is not even being considered. Jeffrey Nelson, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest cellular telephone carrier, declined comment other than to say, "When the government is prepared to announce something, the government will announce something." The N.C.S., according to government officials, is also also in discussions with other cellular telephone companies, including VoiceStream Wireless and Sprint PCS Group. "We want to understand exactly what they are looking at, what the requirements would be and how to implement it on a network," said James Fisher, a spokesman for Sprint. "There are a number of complicated things involved, and we want to look at the whole picture and what the implications might be for our consumers." Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 3:01:39 PM EST
Ok, so how do they distinguish between the federal workers and civilians that are trapped in the void of a collapsed building trying to call for lifesaving help? They can't. They can restrict for federal, but not for select civilian groups. They better damn well leave 911 open and available and turn off other outgoing if they plan a stupid stunt like this. From someone that used to be in the industry...
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 3:04:29 PM EST
[b][size=4][blue]Dial 911 and die[/b][/size=4][/blue] Funny, after years of selling us on the "911 personal defense system", now they want to take it away. Maybe the Sheeple will wake up.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 3:08:18 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 5:50:47 PM EST
was in orlando on business on 9-11, most of us there could not complete calls to NY, NJ, CT until late that night or the next day - cell or land line. we were able to complete calls to AL, TN, FL and other parts of the country. don't depend on the phones or internet working during a major crisis.
Link Posted: 12/12/2001 7:43:54 PM EST
Originally Posted By raf: There are alternatives. Always are. Just need to be aware, and in a position to utilize. It's a test.
View Quote
HELL YES !!! Just increase the capacity of the systems to provide for emergency (and routine) communications for EVERYONE ! My other pet peeve: The cellular asswipes should have had separate area codes issued to them. This would have saved us from constantly having to be assigned new area codes !
Top Top