Whenever something traumatic happens, cell service is almost immediately toast. Everyone reaches for their phone, and networks are overwhelmed.
Today’s events in Boston were no different: Carriers including Sprint and AT&T confirmed to the Boston Globe that customers were likely experiencing problems. Verizon recommended everyone keep all non-emergency communiques to text, to free up capacity, and WiFi worked, too.
But at first, there were questions whether cell phone service might have been shut off, rather than merely swamped.
Call Me Maybe
Late Monday night, you probably saw friends south of Flatiron fall off the grid and not resurface until answering your panicked text messages Tuesday morning from somewhere uptown.
That’s because, thanks to Sandy, cell service downtown is–not to put too fine a point on it–totally fucked. You might be getting patches of service, but it’s likely an exercise in massive frustration. Don’t hold your breath on it getting fixed right away, either, says the FCC.
As New York awakens to the structural devastation wrought by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, many–especially in lower Manhattan–are waking to power and Internet outages. Some cell phone carriers also appear to be experiencing issues, making it difficult to place phone calls or send text messages.
There's a Map for That
AT&T is kind of notorious for having terrible reception, but they’re making a worthy attempt at redeeming themselves with a microsite published today. The interactive map illustrates where in the New York area the company has instituted upgrades on cell phone towers, broadband speeds and network connections. In Manhattan, the map says that AT&T has made 916 upgrades since January 2011; the company also spent $1.2 billion in wireless and wireline network upgrades in the NYC metro area throughout 2011.