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Cellphone carriers working to keep customers connected during total solar eclipse

Cellphone carriers working to keep customers connected during total solar eclipse
Cellphone carriers working to keep customers connected during total solar eclipse 00:59

DALLAS — Phone carriers are working to keep customers connected during the eclipse.

Many, many people will be trying to capture the moment through pictures, videos, or live streams along with all the people traveling out of town to experience the event who will need their phones to get around. Communication could become difficult. 

Despite last month's nationwide outage, AT&T says it's working to keep customers connected during the eclipse and prepared to handle the demand.

"The eclipse itself will have no direct operational impact on our wireless network," the company said in a statement, adding that it has "drastically changed" since the last solar eclipse in 2017, including adding 5G.

AT&T also said the FirstNet Response Operations Group will continue to "support emergency communications for first responders and is prepared to deploy redundant, backup connectivity solutions."

But with a lot of people in one area, service could be a little slow.

"If it's possible, definitely get connected to wifi to help you upload those pictures or send those pictures and videos to your friends and loved ones," said Damon Mack, an assistant manager with AT&T.

T-Mobile said over the past two years it increased "investments in network hardening by more than 30%" to reduce service interruptions during weather, disasters and major events (like the solar eclipse). The company said it also fixed backup generators at critical sites nationwide and is deploying additional cell sites in areas expecting high tourist traffic.   

"T-Mobile is working hand-in-hand with state and local authorities to address the anticipated surge in network traffic to guarantee seamless connectivity for all," said Ulf Ewaldsson, president of technology at T-Mobile, in a statement. 

Another piece of advice: You'll need a solar filter to protect your phone camera just like your eyes need protection. It's recommended you use a filtering lens or even a pair of eclipse glasses over your phone camera lens.

This will be the last total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. until 2044.  The eclipse, happening April 8, 2024, begins in North Texas at 12:23 p.m. and ends at 3:02 p.m. If you're located in the path of totality, then all you need to do is step outside and look up!

When and where can I watch the total solar eclipse in North Texas?

You can watch the total solar eclipse with CBS News Texas. Our crews and our CBS News Texas drones will be all along the path of totality, from Ennis to Eagle Pass. Join us for "Into the Darkness: A Texas Total Eclipse" on Monday, April 8, starting at 6 a.m.

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