I’ve always found our inability to show any modicum of patience with technology to be somewhat alarming. If a computer takes a few seconds to load a page, we want to smash our fists through the monitor. If a cell phone call drops or we find one of about a dozen spots in the country that’s devoid of 3G coverage, it’s almost as if we have a panic attack. I’m guilty of this just as much as anybody else, but when you think about it objectively it’s not that big of a deal unless you’re trying to dial 911.
Which is where the problem lies with this story.
The Federal Communications Commission has asked Verizon Communications Inc., the parent company of Verizon Wireless, to investigate a reported 10,000 dropped emergency calls that occurred during the major snowstorm that hit the Eastern Seaboard and New England in January. The FCC says that they are “particularly concerned” by this and want to ensure that this is not a widespread issue on Verizon’s network.
Verizon spokesperson Harry Mitchell has come out and said that the problem, which was focused around Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, was due to a “mass call event.” Because when you’re trying to reassure the FCC that your network is working just fine, the “there were too many people using it at once” defense is concrete. To be fair, Mitchell also said that Verizon is addressing the problem within the counties, and is working to resolve any issues with the FCC.
To be fair, I’ve not had a single problem with their network since switching to Verizon last September. Furthermore, I’ve been lucky enough to not need to make an emergency call, so I can’t very well comment on that front.