5.9 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Eastern Seaboard, Jams Cell Service

Mass MediaArts and CultureTelecommunication ServiceDisasters and AccidentsVirginia Earthquake (2011)Unrest, Conflicts and War

When the 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia Tuesday at 1:53pm, people scrambled to call their loved ones for the next half hour. But Verizon, Sprint, and other mobile service providers got jammed up and many calls couldn't go through. While the cell service providers say there was no damage to their facilities, the sheer volume of calls created problems. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency requested that people send text messages or emails instead of making calls, to keep lines open for the very greatest of emergencies.  Many callers turned to social media like Twitter instead.

Following that phone jam, Verizon Wireless tweeted, "seeing no reports of damage” to their wireless network. “There was some network congestion in the East after tremors. Continuing to monitor," the message continued.

Meanwhile, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand continues to call for a special communications spectrum to be reserved for first responders.  "We saw cell service cannot be relied on in the event of a major crisis," she said in the quake’s aftermath.  The senator is aiming to create and pass legislation, before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, that would re-allocate what's known as a "D-Block," or radio section, to first responders.

NYPD and local agencies admit that some kinks need to be ironed out in order to increase functionality on days like yesterday's earthquake. Authorities are hoping Congress acts quickly to help remedy the problem before another crisis arises.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Mass MediaArts and CultureTelecommunication ServiceDisasters and AccidentsVirginia Earthquake (2011)Unrest, Conflicts and War
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