Women's March Clogged D.C. Mobile Networks

Women's March Clogged D.C. Mobile Networks

Social media streams this weekend overflowed with photos, videos, and commentary from global protesters of Donald Trump's presidency.

But while hundreds of thousands of people sent a figurative message by marching in the nation's capital, their literal messages were thwarted by mobile network issues.

According to CNET's Marguerite Reardon, who attended the Women's March in Washington, D.C., by 10 a.m. Saturday, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were unavailable, sending and receiving texts was nearly impossible, and live-streaming celebrity speeches on a phone was hopeless.

"The network was simply unavailable until early afternoon when the march finally got under way and people began dispersing," Reardon explained. "Even then, uploading pictures or video was spotty at best. But at least text messages could be sent and received."

But, as Reardon pointed out, the Big Four US carriers—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon— were prepared for Friday's inauguration, which anticipated upwards of 900,000 people (though final numbers are likely much lower). The Women's March on Washington, meanwhile, garnered at least 500,000 protesters.

The Verizon Wireless network performed well, a company spokeswoman told PCMag, "especially given the massive turnout in several cities," she added, reporting between two and nine times the customer data usage volumes of a normal weekend.

And, meanwhile, said its network "moved a massive amount of data serving very dense, large crowds" as the inauguration and Women's March.

"We saw unprecedented usage, far outpacing events such as the Super Bowl," a spokeswoman said in a statement, tipping total data tonnage in D.C. over the weekend at 12.6 terabytes.

AT&T and T-Mobile did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

Sprint, however, told CNET that it saw "unprecedented traffic levels in DC and other cities" on Saturday, "far outpacing historically large data events such as the Super Bowl."

Newly sworn-in President Trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter to mock the Women's March and those citizens—famous and unknown—who participated.

Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2017

Source: pcmag.com
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