Can you get a signal?
Deregulation means fewer standards for cell phone carriers when disaster strikes
Published: December 12, 2012
The industry had argued that not all carriers had the technological capability to offer that kind of precise targeting. The Telecommunications Industry Association wrote that "geotargeting rules that are more stringent" than county-level could "stifle innovation, delay the roll-out [of the program] and reduce voluntary participation." (Some carriers are now working with local officials to offer more flexible targeting, according to Bristow.)
Carriers have long argued along these lines u2014 that disasters each present unique scenarios and that companies need to stay flexible as technologies change. The carriers say it is in their best interest to keep networks running, and point to the quick deployment of portable towers after Sandy and examples like AT&T and T-Mobile allowing customers to roam between networks.
Feld, of Public Knowledge, says that the "technological flexibility argument is true, but it's not a show-stopper. We have to balance flexibility against the need to have real emergency planning."
> Email Cora Currier, Pro Publica