back to article FCC plans to make Twitter, mobile networks disaster proof

The Federal Communications Commission is to have a series of talks around the US to figure out how to stop mobile network outages during natural disasters. A quarter of cell towers on the East coast were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy late last month and the FCC field hearings will focus on the problems service …

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Facepalm

This is gonna be peachy

Seeing how the electrical grid is still in a dilapidated state after about 20 years of constant moaning and bitching while nothing happens at all.

Sure, step up FCC. What's that? No price increase to customers but more resilience? Obama wills it? Uk, okay.

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Re: This is gonna be peachy

Especially anything that involves Schumer. That guy could not manage economics 101 if a survival of a zombie outbreak depended on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Money is no object. Have all the towers retract into missile silos.

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"Money is no object. Have all the towers retract into missile silos."

Or build em into hardened structures.

Some sort of peer to peer adhoc network betwixt handsets might work as well.

Failing that, megaphones and ear trumpets, lots of em.

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Anonymous Coward

every1 shud have a cell tower forcibly installed in their anus

s/t

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Does the FCC even have a role to play any more?

The problem is that communications companies have already successfully resisted Federal Communications Commission calls to make emergency preparations and the government effectively has no authority over communications networks any more. In fact there is a claim to a constitutional right to operate without any federal oversight.

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Re: Does the FCC even have a role to play any more?

The supreme court has already ruled that radio waves aren't speech, so they can claim all they want.

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Unhappy

I was in Toronto, Canada when the power went down 6-7 years ago for 3 days or so. Few people had made preparations such as laying in candles, canned food, et.c. Fortunately the processed water supply is gravity fed from reservoirs located in the higher land north of the city.

Countries where the public electricity supply can be 'intermittent' are far better prepared. Even residences have small gasoline-powered generators, and cans of gas/petrol to refill the tanks. High-rises all have auto-switching generators, as do hotels and even restaurants.

The cellco networks are protected with small, auto-start, propane powered generators to charge the batteries, In the northern climbs, where the are some hills/mountains up to 3000 metres high, protection ensures continuous power for days on end.

Most all of the computers in my office are laptops, chosen mainly because of their 'power-fail' protection offered by batteries. All our LANs and WiFi units are similarly protected. Our lighting is by LED which are again low voltage.

In the States cellco's operated by telco's such as A T & T have no excuse as the telephone switching centres typically employ 'battery' technicians who spend all their time providing TLC to banks and banks of batteries to ensure their long life. The real reason the batteries are there is to ensure reliable communications.

Cellco's, from what I have observed, tend to be on the cheap side, maybe a bank of rechargeable batteries to provide a few hours power bridging, certainly nothing to ensure continuous operation for several days. The FCC is in a position to modify cell licences to ensure there are minimal power fail working conditions.

Given the profits cellco's make, it is not as if they can't afford the tax-deductible outlay, it's just they don't plan properly.

Now, in Canada, office space rental advertisements often trumpet that they have 'uninterruptable' power!

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When the tsunami disaster hit Japan a couple of years back, mobile coverage was restored within hours to aid the emergency response, despite terrible loss of life and total devastation over large areas. This was done by deploying small cells in minivans, each with an extendable antenna and using satellite for backhaul. Low power consumption (from the vehicle), backhaul flexibility and self-configuration made this possible. A separate effort involved setting-up a network of generator-powered phone charging stations so that people could continue to use their mobiles.

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Big Brother

Sandy

I went through some of the worst with Sandy. First the landline phone went dead. Next, cell phones could no longer make calls. Then text messaging became slower and slower. I could only send one SMS text message per hour. 4G/3G began to fail. The most reliable communications was Twitter for a couple of days until even that began to go quiet. I was reduced to listening to a battery powered AM radio and lost all other contact with the outside world for several days.

Yea, we really need disaster proof communications.

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Joke

In the event of a natural disaster,

The FCC want's a reliable communication service that reroutes around broken nodes and doesn't depend on one single node. So that In the event of a nuclear war, generals can get access to high quality p*rn **.

How exactly are they going to implement a hurricane, earthquake and volcano proof radio mast, that usually sits on top of buildings that are not as secure. And of course there will be the problem of power, how long do they expect a small UPS to stay alive?

** joke by Three Dead Trolls.

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