New Year's SMS Jam Sends Bad Message

Experts worry about network overloads in future crises
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2008 7:50 PM CST
Former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre shares a text message from his nephew with the media during a press conference Friday, Oct. 19, 2007 Rye Brook, N.Y. On Thursday Torre rejected a contract offer...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – When the ball dropped to usher in 2008 so many people texted New Year's tidings that mobile networks jammed, the AP reports. Sadly, this is nothing new: Bounced missives in the midst of disasters like 9/11, the '03 blackout, and Katrina can be life and death matters. But full backup emergency networks would cost "billions," one expert says: "Someone's got to pay for it."

Service providers have been working to expand network capacity but the number of mobile phones in use has nearly doubled since 2001. These devices are increasingly used for such bandwidth-clogging tasks as SMS, MMS, video, web surfing, checking e-mail—and, yes, making phone calls.