City of Carbondale finalizing plans for eclipse; cell phone service updates

Carbondale cell phone service during eclipse
Updated: Aug. 3, 2017 at 6:01 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - We're officially 18 days away from the total solar eclipse and the city of Carbondale, Illinois is finalizing its plans with a few important things in mind such as cell phone service and traffic.

The city's spokesperson, Amy Fox, is excited to be near complete with the construction project in Carbondale's Downtown.

"I'm happy to report that we have 90 percent of the project mother nature has been cooperating and we have been making some serious progress especially in the last four to six weeks."

Just in time for the all the eclipse traffic the city of Carbondale is expecting.

"It is going to be very close but we are very confident we will have the whole project completed by the solar eclipse," Fox explained.

Sean Henry, city of Carbondale director of public works, reminded residents of the reason for the construction.

"The purpose of the project is to beautify the downtown – remove the utility poles and overhead utility lines that have been here since Carbondale was created, basically," he said. "So, right now everyone is working hard, they are working over time. We are trying to get things done. We are on a good track assuming mother nature holds for us."

As you've heard, it's up to mother nature, but the city will be landscaping this weekend. In addition, finishing up late next week with a ribbon cutting and promotion for local business, called a Cash Mob, to thank them for their patience during the project.

The city of Carbondale is also taking cell phone service in consideration during the eclipse. According to the city of Carbondale, dialing 911 won't be an issue, but there are a few other cell phone concerns during the eclipse. For example, slower speeds on the internet for posting pictures or live streaming.

There are fluctuating numbers of visitors expected, from 50,000 on upward to 100,000 people in the Carbondale area.

Fox said she has been in many talks with the cell phone service providers to make sure the huge event won't cause a huge headache.

"We've been in constant communication with the two of the largest providers both Verizon and AT&T for probably close to six to 12 months now, and they continually assure us that cell phone service will not be an issue during the eclipse- this includes both talk and text," Fox said.

Meagan Dorsch, the spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, explained their plans:

"Verizon has prepared our networks for the additional capacity we expect during the eclipse and have in place emergency contingencies plans to ensure access for first responders and other authorities.  For this reason, we do not plan to deploy additional temporary network assets at this time.

However, our network engineers have been and will continue to evaluate our network capacity in and around the areas identified as gathering points for the public to view the eclipse. We are positioned to provide additional resources when and if the need arises."

Comparatively, AT&T and T-Mobile will have portable towers.

Due to the questionable internet, the city has made printed version of the map available the weekend of the eclipse.

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