Re: El Dorado County Communications System Failures During The Blackout

Greg - KO6TH

Hi Alan,

Yeah, really good point about the usefulness of CodeRed.  The power shutdown was for safety, but if a fire is started for whatever reason (e.g. spark from a generator?), the situation could have been worse since the infrastructure for carrying those messages often fails.

My experience.  I'm on T-Mobile for cell service, and also have an AT&T land-line (the old POTS system, not DSL) for the home phone, and Wave Broadband for Internet.  I'm just down the hill a bit from the intersection of Dry Creek Road and Highway 49 in North Auburn.  Power went out just after midnight.  AT&T land line stayed up (a change this time from prior events), but both cable internet and cell went down.  I don't know how long the cable stayed up, if it did, but cell service went out somewhere between 1 and 3 hours after the outage began.  During the day I did get a few SMS messages through, but it was really spotty.  There was one place in the house where I could get a bit of Internet on my tablet on Wednesday afternoon.

At one point I got a Placer-Alert phone call on the ATT line from the City of Auburn (we're outside the city limits BTW) with the same content as an SMS from them.  Good to see that some communication paths were working.

Power came back on Wednesday afternoon, after being out for 16 hours.

Greg  KO6TH

Alan Thompson wrote:

First of all, thanks to everyone for running the Power 'Net during the Black Out. I didn't hear any other Clubs doing that, which is yet another thing that sets SFARC apart. 

This last Thursday, I was scheduled to give a presentation about the Camp Fire communications failures before our local Pleasant Valley Fire Safe Council in El Dorado County. But the power was shut off, so the FSC wisely decided it would be better to postpone and reschedule the meeting.

In some ways, the power cut was right in line with my topic since Internet and cell phone service was either down or impaired across El Dorado and Placer County, and several others directly due to the power loss.
Comcast Internet service in our area north of Placerville went down almost immediately.
Depending on which cell phone service provider you had, service was either impaired or unavailable. I could not make any calls or get Internet over my StraightTalk/Verizon service. Text messages still worked, with occasional delays.
Had our CodeRed Alert system been activated for a fire, it makes me question how many would have actually received an alert.
I'd like to hear from other Club members your own Internet/phone communications failure story during the power outage? Where are you located? When did you lose Internet and/or phone service? Who are your service providers? Did you lose all cell service connectivity or just part?
Your information becomes vital in urging the state of California and local governments to compel service providers to harden their sites and reduce these potentially life-threatening service failures.

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