Yellowstone might be the ultimate Anti-Pokemon Go

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Posted by Ballpark Frak ( on 12:17:18 07/12/16

In Reply to: Has anyone tried Pokemon Go in a National Park? posted by Beej


Thankfully, I doubt that Pokemon Go fans will be able to access the bandwidth needed for a typical Pokemon Go experience in the geyser basins. First, many of the basins don't have cell coverage. Those that do, like the Upper Geyser Basin, Black Sand Basin, Biscuit Basin, and possibly the Mud Volcano area, have cell signal that is seriously hamstrung by the lack of bandwidth available in Yellowstone. The other good news is that the more visitors there are in the park, the more the available bandwidth has to be parceled out in small "chunks". Mammoth might be a greater risk geography, due to its proximity to Gardiner. I don't know if the project has been completed, but I know that a Montana Public Service Commission-ordered action required of Qwest, now CenturyLink, had fiber being plowed in alongside Hwy 89 south of Livingston back when I still resided in the area. Now, four years later, I would expect that fiber to be "lit", meaning there should be considerable bandwidth available in Gardiner. It is only a question of whether fiber was run up to the Elk Plaza radio site adjacent to Mammoth. If so, then cellular carriers could conceivably be offering 3G, or even 4G cellular capability out of that site.

I know that in recent years, in summer, when the park teems with visitors, I have had plenty of experience with way slow cellular communications. There have been times when there was too much congestion to complete a voice call, but you could still get text messages in and out; and that is within line of sight of cellular towers.

When I contemplate the danger inherent in a Yellowstone equipped with abundant bandwidth (right now, primarily restricted by propagation limits within the bounds of the park), I realize that Pokemon Go fans or users of similar applications yet to come will have plenty of other dangers, beyond thermal features to worry about. Think of a totally distracted Pokemon Go user at a roadside animal jam accidentally walking out in front of a moving vehicle. How about a Pokemon Go customer not realizing they are moving steadily closer to a bison herd, grizzly, or mother moose with calf? How about Pokemon Go fanatics wandering around the North or South Rim of the Canyon or one of the brink of the falls overlooks?

I guess we might have a whole new category for the Darwin Awards?


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