National News

Cell service a concern as solar eclipse passes through Oregon

Posted August 16

— With hordes of people expected to head into the path of totality during the solar eclipse, many are wondering what that means for cell service.

While the sun being blocked by the moon won't crash connections, hundreds or thousands of people in the same general area certainly could.

The City of Madras is expected to be one of the top places to watch the total solar eclipse.

FOX 12 spoke with the city's solar eclipse planner who says cell service is a concern but Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are set to bring in temporary towers to boost service. But if networks overload, there could be bigger problems than failed uploads.

Travelers could be left without GPS, and if people don't have it, 911 dispatchers may not have those location services either, even if people do get through in case of an emergency.

"Any time you call 911 the first question they are going to ask you is what's your location, so it's important you be aware of your surroundings. Where you are, how you got there, how you can get out all those things there are mechanism in place, but technology doesn't always work," said Hassan Al-Rubaie, Public Safety Communications Tech.

Officials also want to remind people that sending texts uses less data than calling.

While those additional cell towers could help, there's still concern that ATM's and other debit machines that rely on the internet will stop working. So officials are urging visitors to carry cash.

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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