RealNews

When Wireless Phones Failed, Callers Turned to Land Lines

The regular public telephone network generally kept working after the power went out in parts of six states yesterday afternoon, but the cellular systems in affected areas were often unable to cope. Wireless network operators said their networks were unable to handle the heavy traffic as large numbers of people simultaneously tried to reach friends, family and business associates. But the lack of electricity or the failure of backup power systems at cellular transmitter stations and traffic switching centers were also partly to blame. While the transmitter stations typically have battery backup power, the batteries may not last more than a few hours. The land-line telephone network, which is built with backup power through the system and sends a small electrical current to each phone, continued operating, although spikes in calling volume sometimes caused callers to encounter fast busy signals. Full Story

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