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Cellphones failed again after Minnesota bridge collapse

Brian White

When major disasters strike, cellphones have a bad habit of being about as useless as that morning piece of burnt toast. At least, that's what those working Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks found out, and those who were directly involved in the Minnesota bridge collapse more than a few weeks ago witnessed as well. Again, the culprit In Minnesota appeared to be overloaded cellular towers and switch traffic that apparently affected all carriers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area where the collapse happened. With cellular service being integral to everyday life, should there not be contingency plans in place for continuing service in the event of a disaster? A recent suggestion of cellular "peer-to-peer" service that bypasses towers and switches in an emergency sounds intriguing to us. Maybe in 2015 or so we'll see it happen.

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