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Thread: Without phone or internet

  1. #1
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Without phone or internet

    Yesterday afternoon, I lost signal to my iPhone and my computer. (at&t) Living out in the country, it was a bit disconcerting. I tried a number of fixes, but nothing worked. DH's phone worked in town, but not when he got home. He was able to call that at&t 611 number and they weren't much help. They said something about a couple of the cell towers 3 and 6 miles from here were not functioning. I drove into the smaller town I live by, hoping to get a better signal, but didn't.
    I listened to the TV, in case it was widespread, but nobody was talking about it....so I was pretty sure it wasn't Russia's doing. haha What added to my confusion was that it was totally quiet out here........no traffic sounds, no planes......sort of like on 9-11.

    I have to say, it was pretty disconcerting living without the ability to call for help, if needed. The at&t lady said our 911 would still work.........but it didn't, when we tested it.
    What would happen if we had a fire? Or had a medical emergency? Or had an intruder? I got rid of my landline because of all the problems we were having with it and they would have needed to put a cable in for 1000+ feet or more, through trees, the garden, the yard, etc. So I got an inexpensive Cellular One back-up phone........but of course, it didn't work either because it was wireless. I got it in case I lost my phone or it died......but I hadn't planned on such an all-encompassing problem.

    It was quite disconcerting to think of how dependent this whole country is, with wireless things.

    I was going to get a temp. phone, but decided to try the small at&t store in our small town......which wasn't very good the last time I went. But a smart guy was there and figured it all out for me. There's a way of pushing on the home button at the same time as the on/off button that can reset things. He told me at home, to take the battery out of our personal wi-fi device........and it worked! He said that at&t has been having trouble with their cell towers and it seemed to be connected to their getting rid of 3g transmissions. But he said that many times now, he can't get people's cell phones to work that come into his store. I used to hate at&t when we had the landline, so maybe they're getting bad with their wireless service too?

    Anyhow.....a bit scary to feel so unable to connect, especially if there had been an emergency. Think of the damage that could be done to large areas if these towers were targeted?

    Anyhow.......I'm glad it could be fixed for us.

  2. #2
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    I can't believe they told you 911 would work - nothing is going to work if you can't connect to the network.

    People better get used to it. Landlines are going become a thing of the past - it costs too much to maintain all the infrastructure.

  3. #3
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Yeah, and people need to get ready for nobody knowing what the hell they're saying about the product they're working for. Oh wait........that's already happened.....but still hard to accept.
    Although like I said, I was unbelievably pleasantly surprised that the guy in the at&t store today was so helpful.

  4. #4
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    CathyA, how sad I feel when we are surprised by good customer service. It SO used to be the other way! I have a land line, and will keep it as long as it's offered. Cell service here is terrible, and we are far from the middle of nowhere.

  5. #5
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    For emergencies ham radio? CB radio? Or have these gone the way of the buffalo?

    I can't get AT&T signals for phone calls anywhere on the property at my new job, yet I can send and receive texts.

    It's all beyond me.

  6. #6
    Senior Member pony mom's Avatar
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    I have a friend who has no landline, cellphone or internet. Yeah, she's a bit odd. She's also a super paranoid person about being attacked at work or in her home. Also believes a GPS purposely got her lost on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

    It's frustrating because the only way to get in touch with her is at her job, on a Monday at 12pm. Sorry, I'm busy at work at that time. Given her paranoid tendancies, I don't know how she is managing.

    At the moment, she also doesn't have a car. And during the winter, no electricity or heat for some time. A mutual friend and I think she may be going off the deep end.

    It's one thing to be addicted to phones and internet as entertainment. But when we really need them in an emergency or in a disaster, it's a bit scary to find that they don't work! And being away from other people (who may or may not be in the same situation) makes it worse.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    CathyA, do you have wired internet? We gave up our landline phone a decade ago when we moved to a newly built house that didn't have a phone line to it. But we've always had cable internet. So far we've never had both our cable internet and cell phones go down at the same time. But we also live in a big dense city so any widespread problem on either gets dealt with quickly.

    If we lived somewhere remote I'd probably try to figure out foolproof backups (it sounds like you've already tried that) and also try to up my self-sufficiency for some emergencies. A major health crisis would be a tough one (although the likelihood of having one when you also are having a communication crisis is relatively low), but a couple of extra fire extinguishers might be money well spent. And, gasp, yes, liberal jp is going to say this, perhaps a gun. I have absolutely no desire to have one here in the city and don't think it would be useful, but if we were in a remote area I'd seriously consider getting one and learning how to use it.

    The bottom line is that everyone has potential crisises that they may have to deal with. The most likely crisis(es) are different depending where one lives, but planning for them should be something everyone does. Where we live the most likely thing is a massive earthquake. Towards that end we've done things like stock easily prepared food (and have a grill that uses propane tanks so we can still cook if the gas service gets shut off) and a lot of gallons of bottled water (SO uses a CPAP so we have a constant supply of empty gallon distilled water jugs that I'm constantly refilling with regular water and sticking away in all of our closets.). We've also discussed how to communicate if the earthquake happens when we're not home or together. The SMS message system is more resilient than the cell phone talking network. (SMS messages use the regular talk network so don't need the 3g/4g data network to be up and running, plus a text uses a small fraction of bandwidth that a talking phone call does) If the big one happens we both know to text to my sister if we can't reach each other due to overcrowding of the local cell system. That way we can hopefully find each other and coordinate what our response will be based on how bad things are, where we are, whether my car is accessible, etc.

    Re-reading this before posting it occurs to me that one of your potential foolproof backups involves SMS texting. Perhaps pick someone who doesn't live near you (so they're not likely going to be also screwed if the 3G/4G networks go down) who you can SMS text if you have no other communication. That way if you need 911 contacted you could at least text that person and they could then contact your emergency people. (Obviously they'd also need to have bookmarked in their phone the numbers for your EMT's/police/fire.)

  8. #8
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    I have to admit, no landline, no cell phone, and no internet sounds like a dream at the moment. I know I am romanticizing how peaceful that would be:-), but in this moment it sounds lovely.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reyes View Post
    I have to admit, no landline, no cell phone, and no internet sounds like a dream at the moment. I know I am romanticizing how peaceful that would be:-), but in this moment it sounds lovely.
    There are definitely times I agree with you. And times that reality sets in. First the former. Many a weekend I leave my phone sitting in our den and only look at it a couple of times during the day. Hours spent out on our deck, cat snuggled up next to me, reading a book uninterrupted are pure bliss. But yesterday I had an example of the benefit of always/instant communication. I'd traveled for work at the end of last week and was going to be out of the office Monday and Tuesday of this week also. Apparently I'd forgotten to let him know. Boss was freaking out by tuesday morning. (Employee (me) went on biz trip and didn't show up in the office monday or tuesday. None of his(my) immediate coworkers knew where I was) Boss emailed/texted/called me in a near panic, about to contact HR and alert them to a potential crisis. Thanks to modern technology I got the message about ten minutes later and let him know that I was fine. (and apologized for not making sure that my time off request had been received.) When we talked today I joked "Please. I know better than to fly United, the "friendly" skies. There was nothing to worry about..."
    Last edited by jp1; 4-13-17 at 2:41am.

  10. #10
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    Life was so much simpler 50 years ago. Experienced a major earthquake (9.2) with major destruction without cell phones and land lines down. Survived.

    About the only thing I worry about because I have no control is nuclear war.

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