#wyoclipse: 6 ways to prep for a possible lack of internet
Coverage of the August 2017 solar eclipse and related events is brought to you by Shoshone Rose Casino and Hotel.
One of the biggest concerns for residents, visitors, and businesses alike as the Great American Eclipse approaches is: will there be internet access?
The answer: no one knows for sure. But the Wind River Visitor’s Council advises people to not count it.
Verizon told County 10 last week that improvements over the years have made additional preparation for one-time events “largely unnecessary,” but that they will be continuously monitoring the situation and adjusting as needed. AT&T will reportedly be bringing a portable antenna to Glendo Reservoir to help with bandwidth load.
“It’s very probable that it will be disrupted,” WRVC’s Paula McCormick said of internet service. Cell data networks will likely be spread the most thin, followed by public wifi. McCormick has heard that both Union and Dubois Telephone should be OK.
Butch Cassity of Wyoming.com told County 10 that the Riverton based company is anticipating the influx of people, and should be prepared to handle the increased demand on service. “We design and manage our statewide, private network to account for bandwidth increases that could happen. We also proactively monitor our network on a 24/7, 365 basis to see if there’s anything that comes up that we can jump on right away. We’re confident that our network is going to be able to withstand that influx of people,” said Cassity.
Wyoming.com also recommends changing network passwords before the start of the eclipse weekend, strict management of who has the password during the weekend, and then changing the password after the eclipse events have concluded, to ensure network security and help guard against unauthorized use, which could hinder performance.
CenturyLink did not respond to requests for comment. Charter Spectrum, one of the area’s largest internet providers, says they should be fine.
“Our network is designed to handle increased traffic during high-profile events,” Charter spokesman Bret Picciolo said. “Customers do not need to take any additional action.”
City of Lander’s Rajean Strube Fossen said they are encouraging everyone to hold-off on sharing their captures of the eclipse, noting that thousands of people trying to live stream the big event all at once will definitely slow things down. She added that the city has seen service slow even at times like July 4th because of so much use.
911 phone calls will be given priority, and law enforcement countywide will be utilizing communications channels that don’t rely on these services.
How to handle a lack of service (just in case):
- Text. Texting uses less data than phone calls or other internet-based communications.
- Know where you’re going. Plan your route ahead of time and have directions and a physical map handy.
- Save the posting for later. Use your devices to document everything, but do all the posting once the craziness has died down. People will be digesting the best eclipse content for days afterward. Facebook live? Probably not.
- Grab the walkie-talkies out of the closet. Remember those little radios you used to use between cars on road trips? These are perfect for staying connected when cell service are down. Power them up and make sure the right members of your party have them.
- Make sure everyone knows the itinerary. Have a plan in place for when and where you’ll be at all times. Then, in case you get separated, everyone will know where to meet up next.
- Businesses: How will you handle credit card transactions without a connection? Plan ahead. Some merchant services provide pre-authorization and fraud protection for offline transactions; check with your provider to see what the best process for you will be.