26 Nov California Cell Towers Affected by Power Outages
The threat of deadly fires has created power outages that have affected California cell towers.
The West Coast of the United States must deal with the Santa Ana and Diablo winds. These winds pose a greater threat of deadly fires that spread quickly due to wind speed. Power companies have taken extreme measures to minimize the threat of fires. However, these measures are also having a negative impact on California cell towers.
As fires raged across the state, power companies such as PG&E, tried to combat the threat of increasing fires by cutting off the power supply. Rolling blackouts took the state by surprise. The thought behind the companies’ actions was to prevent any unnecessary sparking from lines hitting trees and creating kinder. In theory, this seemed somewhat reasonable to government officials. However, a huge issue quickly arose with the California cell towers.
California Cell Towers Are Lacking
“Neither California nor the federal government requires cell phone towers to have backup power, even though network service is a critical part of modern life.” This means the responsibility of mobile connectivity falls upon the cell phone companies. Some California cell tower sites do indeed have back-up generators, but not all of them, and the ones that do may only run for a few hours. It was not just residents that were affected by the cell tower outages in California. Businesses also faced no communications, business that provided internet and televisions capabilities.
In retrospect, Californian residents were cut off in solidarity. With no access to new emergency information and no way to contact 911 or call for help. If a fire was raging up to your backyard, you wouldn’t know until you saw the flames…
Telecom Steps Up
The executives from major telecom companies addressed the Public Utilities Commission of California about its fire-preventing strategies. Companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon had come to make statements about the power outages. The companies were followed by dozens of concerned citizens. At the end of a three-hour question and answer hearing, it seemed that the only thing that was established was that each party blamed the opposing parties, telecom vs. utilities and etcetera.
Costs Begin to Pile Up
The three-hour hearing had painted a picture of apocalyptic proportions, which was not too far off. A director of the Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management made a terrifying comment.
“I literally drove up to the fire that night two hours into it, and I stared at that fire coming down the hill knowing that I could not warn my community, that my community could not receive my phone calls, my cable messages. I could not reach them.”
The power outages had created chaos. Also, at the hearing, the cost began to pile up. Nearly 90,000 customers were out of mobile services and 1,600 California cell towers were down. In some counties over half the population had lost cell service, leaving these communities at large extremely vulnerable. Sonoma County alone suffered up to $70 million in economic losses. The losses were devastating. Fortunately, last week after the hearing a proposal had arisen.
California cell Tower Power Proposal
According to a new station in San Francisco, Kron 4, a state senator, Steve Glazer, has generated a new proposal. He has proposed that the state enforces a mandatory 72-hour battery back up on every cell tower throughout California. The cell towers will be powered by the telecom companies that own them, but that is not all. Glazer also proposes that the utility companies should be responsible for providing battery backup for citizens with extreme medical conditions for items such as refrigerated medications and machine functionalities. This proposal will have costs for both sides, but it also has the potential to save lives.
If your company is in need of locating cell towers, contact the telecom location-based experts at GeoTel Communications.
Author: Valerie Stephen