When wireless fails, callers turn to landlines

Aug 15 2003 - 03:03 PM ET | In The News
A massive power outage in the North East region of North America caused millions of people to turn to their cellphones, and then turn to their home phones. Between towers being powerless, and the few powered towers being overwhelmed at the increased demand, most cell phone users got met with silence or a "network busy" message. Most cell towers have battery backups, but they are meant to cover only minor outages (nothing more than a few hours). It wouldn't have mattered much though, network activity was some 300% higher than average in NYC--the kind of traffic that could bring down even a fully powered network. So maybe it isn't wise for everyone to throw away the landline and go for a cell just yet. More information is available at C|Net. Update: Verizon says they are good to go. It might take a few tries if you are in an affected area, but you should be able to place calls and send text messages.