Wireless Industry: 77 Cell Towers Failed in the First Hours of The Oct 2017 Fires in Northern California.
From 10/16/17: Piedmont, CA City Council Meeting || 9/30/17: No Significant Gap in Verizon Coverage:
In the first video, above, at a 10/16/17 Piedmont, CA City Council meeting, a Crown Castle/Verizon representative tells the truth on the record.. The Wireless alerts failed to get through. Residents with copper, legacy landline phones received the reverse-911 warnings to evacuate.
Call AT&T to order a landline (dial 800-288-2020, press zero, say “New Service”, say your address, say “Home Account” and you will get a person). For $26.00 per month (plus an estimated $10 to $15 per month in taxes and fees), you can get a no-frills, unlimited-local-calls telephone line that will reliably work when the power to your home is out. The montly fee can be discounted for qualifying households by applying to the California Lifeline Program (877-858-7463). This way, in a disaster, you will be able to make 911 calls that provide reliable address detection of your home and you will be able to receive reverse-911 emergency warning/evacuation calls — even if your electricity is out.
Before the Santa Rosa Community meeting started, I was in the second row. As Governor Jerry Brown entered, he asked for my name, shook my hand and spoke to me briefly before taking his seat in the front row. We discussed how communications during the first few critical hours of a disaster need to be robust and not fragile. We discussed that Wireline not Wireless communications technology performed better in this fire disaster and that One Big Dig for California i.e. undergrounding Fiber-Optic, Coaxial and Copper lines in the rebuild would make this public utility asset more defensible from attack from future disasters or terrorism. Finally, I mentioned that a bill on his desk right now, SB.649 — Wireless Tools of Commerce, would present a new, potent fire hazard to every community in California — the 35 cubic foot ancillary equipment boxes next to each utility-pole-mounted cell phone antenna would contain back up power systems (lithium-ion batteries, like the ones in Tesla cars that catch fire, or propane/diesel generators) that would become bombs on the sidewalks in a fire. I asked him to veto this unnecessary Bill, SB.649, because it would be a fire hazard and take away local communities’ abilities to plan and execute the best future for their residents. To his credit, Governor Brown listened and vetoed SB.649 Wireless Tools of Commerce, on Sunday, October 15, 2017.
My Questions Transcribed from From 10/14/17 Community Meeting Video — Questions That Still Needs Answers
My name is Paul and I am from Petaluma, Our city loves Santa Rosa and wants to help you in anyway that we can . . . I have a question for all of us, for Senator Harris and for Governor Brown.
- The first question is, if you need reliable notification for emergency and disasters, why can’t we all retain our landlines that are copper and they are the ones that work in a power outage, because the Wireless Nixle alerts and all of the other Wireless means of communication instantly go down as soon as the fire arrives. Your landlines will continue to work because the [remote power] on these copper lines still operates [during a disaster].
- I have a question for Kamala Harris: will you help us to report AT&T for price gouging on those landline services that prevents people from keeping this very import emergency service. As a carrier of last resort, AT&T must provide these landlines to everyone who wants one [and do so at an affordable price]. It’s the 175% price increase over eight years that pushes people away.
[APPLAUSE](Note: actually, as you can read here the price of the basic AT&T California state utility phone service went up 138% from 2008-2016 and ancillary services went up 60%-525%).
- And finally for Governor Brown, you have legislation on your desk right now that is a fire hazard. If SB.649 [Wireless Tools of Commerce] gets signed by Governor Brown, it would place at residents’ doorsteps — right next to every utility pole in every residential neighborhood — a refrigerator-sized 35-cubic foot ancillary equipment cabinet which will contain lithium ion batteries as backup [power for the proposed cell phone antenna to be installed on these utility poles] or possibly propane or diesel generators. These will explode in any fire.
What I am suggesting is that, as we rebuild, we put all of this infrastructure underground to make it safe for everybody in residential neighborhoods [for any future fire or earthquake and we do not install the unnecessary, fragile and not-dependable-in-a-disaster, so-called “Small Cell” cell towers in front of homes in residential neighborhoods. We would be better served by undergrounded Wireline fiber-optic internet to every home — the fastest, highest-bandwidth, most reliable, most secure and most energy-efficient way to close the Digital Divide.]
77 cell towers knocked out in the fires . . . Communications in the region have been difficult since the fires broke out on Sunday night, with many losing their power and struggling to find reliable cell coverage . . . The lack of connectivity has made it difficult for people in the area to connect with loved ones. Officials are asking people to register themselves at safeandwell.org to alert friends and family of their status.
Hint: Legacy, copper landline telephone lines (not Voice-Over-Internet Protocol, VOIP or U-Verse phones) work reliably, even when the power is out. Try to get one right away. AT&T is the Carrier-of-Last-Resort (‘COLR) (dial 800-288-2020, press zero, say “New Service”, say your address, say “Home Account” and you will get a person) for most markets in Northern California. Frontier Communications (855-682-0455) has taken over COLR duties from Verizon in other California markets.
From CBS News:
Crucial communication proves difficult as wildfires knock out cell towers
SANTA ROSA, Calif. — The wildfires raging through Northern California have also knocked out cell phone service, making it more difficult for people to call for and get help, and for families to locate loved ones. Seventy-seven cell towers went down during the fire. But the widespread outages didn’t just affect first responders. Hundreds of people have been reported missing.
Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordono admits that warning people, even with an automated calling system, was difficult. “People don’t have land lines anymore,” he said. “Without land lines if you don’t sign your cell phone up, you don’t get that service.”
From the Sacramento Bee:
Northern California wildfires expose emergency alert weaknesses in cellphone era
Some people in fire-threatened neighborhoods got a [landline] call, and others, like cellphone-only user Cheryl Irvine of Loma Rica, didn’t.
County officials in the fire zones are offering a disconcerting mea culpa. Their emergency warning systems are severely limited – and in some ways getting worse. Traditionally, counties have built their phone alert systems by collecting all households’ landline phone numbers from phone carriers and sending out mass alerts in emergencies.
But the number of people with landlines has dropped dramatically in the last decade. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40 percent of U.S. households no longer have a landline, as more people rely only on cellphones. County emergency officials say it’s harder for them to collect cellphone numbers. They often rely on voluntary sign-up systems that allow people with cellphones to register their numbers with the county that can be used to send out emergency alerts
Conclusion: Wireline Communications are much more reliable than Wireless in an emergency disaster. For your safety, order and maintain a legacy copper, not a Voice-Over-Internet (VOIP), landline telephone line.