Inauguration could prompt wireless clog

Dec. 25, 2008 at 1:38 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- The Washington inauguration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama could result in a clog of U.S. wireless network systems, network operators say.

Wireless service carriers have urged inauguration guests not to use their cell phones to send messages or photographs during the event to avoid a sudden glut of telecommunication traffic, The Washington Post said Thursday.

"You can add hundreds of thousands of lanes to a highway, but if millions of people go for a drive at same time, you can still have a jam," Verizon Wireless spokesman John Johnson said of the potential inauguration problem.

Spokesman Joe Farren for the wireless trade group, CTIA, said the Jan. 20 event marks a "unique situation" due to the growing prevalence of cell phones in society in recent years.

"This is a unique situation that has never happened before -- to have this kind of population increase in one particular area at one particular time," he told the Post, referring to cell phone users.

Companies have asked cell phone users at the inauguration only to use services for emergencies and send any photos after the event.

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