December 16th, 2008
04:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Cell phone traffic jam looms for Obama inauguration

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Wireless carriers in the D.C.-metro area are preparing for a massive cell phone traffic gridlock on Inauguration Day."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hundreds of thousands of Americans are planning to converge on the National Mall to witness the historic moment when Barack Obama takes the oath of office and becomes the nation's first African-American president.

But if they plan to share pictures or video of the moment Obama utters "so help me God," with friends and family using their mobile phones, they may have to wait.

And wait... and wait... and wait.

The cell systems around the National Mall will be overloaded if the expected record crowds actually materialize, according to a spokesman for CTIA, the association representing wireless carriers. All those phone calls, texts, picture and video messages will hit a log jam.

"It'll be like everyone leaving the beach at the same time after the Fourth of July," said Joe Farren. "All roads will come to a standstill."

Full story

Filed under: Inauguration
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. James

    Is it necessary to post a story about "nothing" when there are no stories to post "nothing" ?

    December 16, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. Milhouse van Houten

    Welcome to the electronic age of frustration.If you want to be safe,dig out that old 35mm SLR,some Kodachrome film and the old tape recorder that you used to listen to yourself sing on and get the results
    you will probably not come close to getting with your new i-phone.

    December 16, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. Matt

    Who cares? Cell phones are probably one of the more irritating things on the planet...maybe 3rd behind neocons and religious zealots. I swear every other person you walk by is either on their phone talking loudly in a public place about how important they are or text messaging like some addict who can't put the stupid thing down for 10 seconds in order to interact with the world right in front of him or her. It's sad really. GET OFF THE PHONE AND LIVE LIFE.

    December 16, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Precious Coker, NY

    So What?

    December 16, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. MsRotten

    Oh please! If you believe that....I have a bridge in Alaska I want to sell you!!

    The reason there will be no cell service is because of security reasons! Period! The Government now controls ALL communication systems. Why do you think it is now LAW that broadcast stations have to become digital by Feb 2009?? They can CONTROL TV broadcast at that time. As it is now....they cannot! Why is NOBODY QUESTIONING the fact that all broadcast stations MUST become digital????? QUESTIONING why it is now the LAW????


    December 16, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    ""It'll be like everyone leaving the beach at the same time after the Fourth of July". That applies to the Metro transit system too. It would cause an 8-hour backup if everyone left the Mall at the same time, which a large number of folks will try to do. Please stay home, watch TV and buy a DVD of the event.

    December 16, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. RJ, CA

    People, people! We are ALL Americans who want the best for our country. Sometimes is "our" party "in power," sometimes it's not.

    Can we all just "bury the hatchet" and move forward. If this particular "forward" turns out to be good — GREAT! If not, we'll change course AGAIN — as we have so many, many times before.


    Happy Holidays to ALL my fellow Americans, of whatever polictical party affiliation!!

    December 16, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Joe Fattal

    On December 20, 2009, America will be remember as" when America stood still". Not me. I will be home nice and warm watching my big TV screen, trying to avoid watching that big circus from washington DC. And my cell phone will be working.

    December 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. roger in ga

    If my cell phone may not work then I will stay home. I cannot go without my phone. Sex.....yes / cell phone.....NOOOOOOO

    December 16, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Kana

    With the anticipated number of visitors to the DC area for the inauguration, for anyone to not expect cell service delays\interruptions would be naive.

    December 16, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |