Big Bend Conservancy
here is a coverage map of the areahttp://www.cingular.com/coverageviewer/?zip=79834&x=47&y=13
I found a site that lists cell tower locations (http://www.cellreception.com/). Here's the data it has on the tower in BBNP:http://www.cellreception.com/towers/details.php?id=1053652It shows it being in the employee housing area behind Panther Junction.
I didn't even try my phone last summer. In fact, as I left my office the Friday before, my boss asked, 'will you be available by cell?' I said, "No, sorry, no coverage!" (while trying not to sound too gleeful, but thinking, Don't call me! I'm on vacation!).
What happened to the backup plan?Linda Bailey Potter 04.FEB.07ALPINE – Last week business came to a screeching halt in the Big Bend area when an AT&T fiber-optic cable was cut by a construction crew east of Alpine on a highway construction site. Seems as though the cable was not where it was suppose to be. It took most of the week to finally get all service backup and running. The effected area covered from south of Valentine east to Lake Amistad, which included not only AT&T customers but also the Big Bend Telephone (BBT) service area.And, then to complicate matters, another fiber-optic cable was cut on I-10 between El Paso and Van Horn on the same day, also near a highway construction site. Only this time the effected area was Pecos with phone and Internet service in limbo for several days.The scary part of the entire episode was that it was not only businesses that had to move at a snail’s pace, but also law enforcement, schools and all levels of government, federal, state and local.Emergency calls to 911 went unanswered frustrating law enforcement and local citizens. Local restaurants and gas stations could not process credit card sales for a period of time and it became a cash-only world in a society that only operates on the latest technology. This does not even taken into consideration the fact that we live on an international border venerable because of lack of security, and this was before the phones went out.“It’s scary,” BBT Project Manger Rusty Moore told Border Hotline. “It was completely out of our control,” he said regarding that there wasn’t a backup plan to re-route the phone/Internet service. “We have been trying to get Bell to come to the table for an alternate route, they could ride our fiber to Midland.”As it was, BBT had to wait for AT&T to fix the cable before their customers were back in business, which represented some 6,000-access lines. The AT&T cable that was cut was the major connection point for BBT for their phone and DSL lines.Last Monday when the service went out, AT&T had put a temporary fix on the cut cable east of Alpine. Then they spent several days re-breaking and re-splicing fibers.While this was not considered a national emergency, most of area residents were surprised that an emergency plan was not put in place that would ensure continuation of service. However, something to consider, satellite Internet users did not have problems, nor did ham radio operators.
Service cut plunges Big Bend into pastIf you wanted to buy a lottery ticket Monday, you were out of luck.About 7:45 a.m. Monday morning, AT&T was informed that a construction crew had cut a fiber optic cable a few miles north of Alpine.An out-of-town visitor from Victoria, Texas, having just spent an hour stocking up at Baeza's Supermarket, was told she couldn't charge her groceries and left empty-handed. People sending money to their families in Mexico couldn't access Western Union.At La Trattoria Cafe, on Holland Street, where normally you'd find writers hunched over their laptops taking advantage of the WiFi connections or the cafe's complementary computer, the usual afternoon crowd was forced to actually converse. The customers, who are used to paying for their lunch with their debit cards, were forced to run a tab, or fall back on the quaint ancient custom of promising to pay the next time they stopped in.Yolanda Natera at TransPecos Banks was still able to make deposits and cash checks, but normal banking business and ATM machines were out of order.KALP Radio had no weather reports.Long-distance calls, even to such locales as Marfa or Marathon, wouldn't go through, not even with cell phones.Digital Studios owner John Green said some cell phones, mostly those with a "386" prefix, were working, and some people with satellite connections were still able to connect to the internet. But for most people, a cut in a fiber-optic line north of Alpine and a second service interruption near Van Horn plunged the Big Bend back into the 20th century.Green pointed out that data lines, like those that carry the information for ATMs, credit card purchases and Western Union, as well as phone lines, all travel on the same huge cables, and are intricately connected throughout the world."AT&T and so-called 'wireless' all go through fiber-optic cable. When the local switches are out, nothing works," he said.Fiber optic cables use light pulses to transmit information as opposed to the older copper wiring used in the 1990s.Although fiber optic cables have been used to carry telephone data since the late 1970s, the ability to transmit more information though a single line has meant more and more data carried by a single cable. With one cut, the whole system is out, especially in isolated areas like the Big Bend.
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