On Monday, August 21, the United States will experience the first total solar eclipse to cross the country since 1918. This once-in-a-century event will create a virtual rolling blackout of cell services as it travels along it’s path, not due to the heavenly bodies but because of the live streaming, photo-taking and subsequent ‘sharing’ done by the terrestrial ones. North American residents will be able to view a partial eclipse, but only certain areas in the U.S. will see the “Great American Eclipse,” making a diagonal cut from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast seaboard.
“We’re expecting a good experience
but there will be [peak] times where the network will struggle,” said
Paula Doublin, assistant vice president of construction and engineering
for AT&T. According to The Bulletin,
emergency personnel are concerned with the convergence of a high
population in some areas as well, including those in Central Oregon.
They fear the towers won’t be able to handle the bandwidth and in the
case of an emergency, 911 calls via cell phones won’t be possible. Their
plan is to rely on “older” methods of communication – landlines and ham
radio operators – to fill the gap.