Inauguration Day Telecom Impact - landline usage down, wireless survived, online video spiked

While wireless carriers were stressing over networks being able to bear the burden of millions of visitors in town for President Barack Obama's inauguration, landline networks got a break, say landline carriers. Network providers also learned things from the spike in live streaming video covering the historic event.

During the inaugural address, AT&T noticed a slight dip in landline phone usage, but cell phone text messaging spiked by 500 percent in downtown Washington. Verizon said landline calls were down about 20 percent, mostly in the D.C. area. Many offices and businesses in downtown Washington closed due to the anticipated flood of people into the city and the disruption of regular transportation means. Three major roads from Virginia were shut down to commuter traffic during the event.

Cellular networks in Washington, D.C., were strained by the estimated 2 million people who gathered in town, but despite scattered reports of service outages and unusually high volumes, the major operators reported no severe disruptions in service. However, some calls were dropped and text messages were sometimes delayed for up to an hour.

Meanwhile, live streaming of the Obama swearing-in caused the largest single spike in Internet traffic since Arbor Networks began tracking it five years ago. Telephony reports there were no massive network outages, but some ISPs and websites had problems. ISPs that had the most problems were ones who didn't have "direct relationships" with Limelight or other large CDNs.

For more:
- Baltimore Sun reports lower landline traffic. Article
- FierceWireless notes cell phone networks didn't die. Post.
- Telephony examines video streaming stress upon the Internet. Article.

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