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Cut in a Communications Line Interrupts Cellular Phone Service

We are not as wireless as we think we are. This is one of many lessons that is coming out of Saturday’s event when a major communications line was cut after it fell from a rotten power pole dropping the fiberoptic and copper line across the road in the area of highway 49 and Lime Kiln in the South County.  When the line was cut it terminated transmission of cell and land line phone service, internet service and also affected 911 services.  John Britton a spokes person with ATT cellular service out of San Francisco explains how a cell call is made.

“My cell phone is sending a signal to the nearest cell tower. Behind the cell tower we have a wired infrastructure. So from the cell tower there are lines that then take the traffic to a central switching station where it’s processed and delivered. So that’s why you can lose cell sites when there is a wire line cable cut because the cell sites are behind the fiber optic cable that was cut.”

Representatives from various county and city agencies are coming together to discuss how one down line can cripple communications based services as well as how to prevent a similar incident in the future. Vic Ferrera with Nevada County’s Emergency services they have some questions about their priorities in such an emergency.

“What’s the priority? The priority is obviously the 911 emergency tasking that we want to attack this from the emergency perspective and see how we can see what we can be better prepared to do. We want to make sure that we know what is nice to have and what is necessary that went out. Those are two separate things. And once we figure that out, we’re going to have a step by step if this happens, then we need to do this.”

The informal meeting is expected on today (Tuesday) with more formal evaluations expected in the future. ATT had line repaired in about 8 hours from the time they were notified of the cut in the line.

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