September 30, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Safety Risks of Dead Zones in Westside Canyons

By Keldine Hull

While a hike through the Santa Monica Mountains is an ideal opportunity to unplug and take a break from technology, lack of cell service throughout different communities in or near the mountains poses a safety risk. An ability to contact emergency services or to be alerted in the case of an emergency can have devastating effects, especially in areas more susceptible to wildfires.

During a Brentwood Community Council meeting on February 13, Daniel Branscome, Treasurer of the Mandeville Canyon Association addressed the lack of cell service in Mandeville Canyon and other Westside canyons.

“On the morning of December 6, a fire started in the Sepulveda Pass on the east side of the 405 and over a very short amount of time, spread and was almost 400 acres. A little over four years ago, a fire in almost the same area started a little further, closer to Mulholland and Sepulveda, and spread all the way to Malibu.” Branscome said, “This is something that’s really concerning for people on the Westside of LA. That is where these fires historically have started and because of winds, have spread to the ocean. Early morning on the 6th [of November], I got a text from one of my neighbors, ‘Did you get the alert?’ I said, ‘What alert?’ The city had used the amber alert system in our community, but because of cell phone service, I didn’t get the alert. On the 7th [of November], there was a structure fire on Mandeville Canyon Road. At 10 p.m., I’m standing on my front lawn looking at flames coming up from a house just below us on Mandeville Canyon Road. What I found out the day after that fire is that the person who saw the fire was driving out of the canyon. They saw flames, but they didn’t have cell phone signal. They had to drive all the way out to Sunset to place the 9-1-1 call to report the fire. We need to do something about cell access in West LA.”

Branscome explains that due to the unique geography of the Santa Monica Mountains, signal service is much worse than how it appears on a coverage map, an issue that affects thousands of residents in the area.

“Anyone who has ever driven up these canyon roads knows that you’re very likely to lose signal once you leave Sunset. You may reacquire signal once you get to your house, if you live up on a ridge line or if you get to your house and you have WiFi assist to provide signal. Most likely you’re in a situation where you’re going to have gaps in coverage. If you look at any of the cell provider maps of where they provide coverage, they all claim that all of this area has at least some coverage, and it’s just not true,” Broscome said.

While a tower may be present in any given area, obstruction between the tower and a device will result in a loss of coverage. Weather also plays a factor; the marine layer and cloudy conditions along the Westside also have an impact on coverage.

With advancements in technology, there are possible solutions and steps that residents can take to improve service in areas with weakened reception. According to Branscome, one solution is to reach out to carriers and encourage them to build additional cell towers within the boundaries of the Brentwood and Pacific Palisades hillside neighborhoods. In addition, AT&T’s Mark the Spot mobile app allows users to report dropped calls and other network issues. AT&T uses the feedback to better target network optimization and address issues that are concentrated in specific areas.

A second solution is to request that city planners install Philips’ SmartPoles, in collaboration with Ericsson, that help to boost broadband coverage throughout the city. According to Ericsson’s website.

“Los Angeles is the world’s first city to deploy Philips’ SmartPole street lighting with fully built-in 4G LTE wireless technology from Ericsson. The collaboration between Philips and Ericsson delivers on the latest Internet of Things (IoT) innovation and provides a double benefit to LA citizens: high quality, public lighting that is energy efficient, as well as improved network performance in dense urban areas.”

in News
Related Posts

BREAKING: Santa Monica City Council Approves Miramar Expansion

September 30, 2020

September 30, 2020

Project moves forward by 4-2 vote By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica City Council has approved plans that have been in...

Santa Monica Walk to End Alzheimer’s

September 29, 2020

September 29, 2020

Alzheimer’s Association encouraging residents to walk in small groups amid COVID-19 The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting Santa Monica residents to...

Lawsuit Filed Against Plaza Development

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Slow-growth group says City is violating Surplus Land Act By Sam Catanzaro A slow-growth group has filed a lawsuit to...

City Of Santa Monica Being Sued Over Proposed Plaza Project: Santa Monica Beat – September, 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Santa Monica Being Sued Over Proposed Plaza Project. * LA Street...

Santa Monica Police Make Additional Arrests in Looting of REI

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Marques Miles and Misty Jones arrested by Santa Monica Police Department Santa Monica police recently made additional arrests of two...

OpEd: The Miramar Project Will Be a New Architectural Jewel

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

The Miramar Hotel has been a central part of Santa Monica’s history and an integral part of the community for...

Edify TV: Trident Center Redevelopment

September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020

The Westside’s Trident Center is getting a major overhaul and new name as part of a flurry of development in...

Miramar Project to go Before City Council Tuesday

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Councilmember Gleam Davis asks City Attorney whether she should rescue self from vote  By Sam Catanzaro  Santa Monica lawmakers will...

SMa.r.t. Column: Needed, A Heart Transplant

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

We have written about adaptive reuse in previous columns and have postulated that with proper incentives, the existing one, two...

Edify TV: Boulders Blocking Westside Encampment

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

City officials recently removed boulders placed on sidewalks by some Westside residents to prevent the formation of a homeless encampment....

Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? Santa Monica Beat – September, 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? * Increases In...

SMC to Be Online for Winter and Spring 2021

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

College cites lack of available vaccine  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) has announced it will be delivering classes...

Edify TV: Al Fresco Program Ending?

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

During a COVID-19 pandemic many restaurants have found aid through the City of Los Angeles’ Al Fresco dining program, but...

Local Breweries Say They Have Been Unfairly Shuttered as County Passes Grant Program

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

$10 million grant program approved by Board of Supervisors  By Sam Catanzaro Will a $10 million grant program be enough...

Santa Monica Loses Vegan Restaurant

September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

Space housing Santa Monica vegan restaurant Viva Vegan up for lease By Sam Catanzaro A vegan restaurant in Santa Monica...