AT&T Boosting Cell Service During Eclipse
By West Kentucky Star Staff
WESTERN KENTUCKY - As the solar eclipse approaches, residents have been warned by officials that local infrastructure could be stretched to the limit due to the influx of thousands of people. Cell phone coverage is no exception.

Hood Harris of AT&T Kentucky told WKDZ radio in Cadiz that they are preparing for the huge crowds in the Hopkinsville area by bringing in what they call a COW - Cell on Wheels - a temporary tower for increased coverage.

"Actually, what we have there is what we call a Mega-COW because it's even bigger than our typical cell on wheels. We use these in times of emergency if the network is down, or in times like this when we're expecting large crowds that are bigger than our standard network is designed for. We move this in to give us extra capacity," Harris said.

Hood said they are planning for the temporary tower to provide reception for ten times the number of people that a normal cell tower would provide. But it's not the first time they have provided service to large crowds.

He said, "At the Kentucky Derby, we have 170,000 people there, and we bring in COWs and assets like this, and typically do a good job of handling it. I think we're gonna be in good shape, but none of us know what to expect on that day. It's gonna be interesting to see what happens, from from the cell network and traffic to all the logistics and infrastructure that goes into trying to handle a crowd of this size."

Harris said workers are currently testing the system to make sure it will be working at its best by next weekend, when most people are expected to begin arriving.

AT&T is deploying COWs in eight other locations along the eclipse path, including Carbondale, Illinois.

On the Net:

AT&T web story about COWs

Published 05:28 AM, Thursday Aug. 10, 2017
Updated 03:25 PM, Friday Aug. 11, 2017

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