Cell service a casualty of inauguration crowd


U.S. CongressA very large group of people were gathered in one place in Washington DC 1/21/13 for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Many of them were placing calls, tweeting and sending photos over their mobile devices. Or at least they were trying to.

According to Politico, the cell service providers believed that there operations held up well. But apparently that view was not shared by many of those in attendance.

But the Politico report did add a qualifier to the provider comment – which was along the lines of service holding up well given the high strain put on it by a lot of would-be simultaneous users.

The opinions of attendees started showing up on the internet later, and according to the report included many expressions of frustration with service. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) was one of the disgruntled customers.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s not all that big a deal if your friends and family have to wait an hour to get your snapshot of the inaugural platform or the Vietnam Memorial. But it does underscore the problem with cell phones in times of emergency. The exact same thing happens – everybody tries to use their mobile device at once, and as a result, nobody can use their mobile device. And had this been an emergency, it would have been a major problem.

FM chips working in cell phones put no particular strain on spectrum, and at least allow the dissemination of information to citizens caught up in one type of emergency or another. We are glad to see Sprint blaze the trail, and strongly urge that all cell phone manufacturers get in on the act as well as a matter of serving the public interest.