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Net becomes the saviour as cell phones go blank
Rajesh S Kurup in Mumbai | July 13, 2006 12:04 IST
The clogging of telephone networks - both mobile and landline - during the hours of crisis in Mumbai led to an increased usage of Internet.
It was the only way of communication within the city and even for reaching out to the outside world. Internet subscribers found instant messengers, e-mails, blogs and SMS over the web more effective than the plain vanilla telephone system.
The city's Internet subscriber base stands at a meagre 1.25 million, compared to over 8.5 million mobile subscribers and 2.8 million wired line connections. But unlike a mobile phone, an Internet connection is used by many people, resulting in a multiple increase in the number of users.
According to officials of the Internet Service Providers Association of India and National Association of Software and Service Companies, there was an increase in Internet usage after the blasts on Tuesday as many people stayed put in offices till the situation was declared "under control". And as phone lines were down, the only method of communication for the next three to four hours was the Internet.
However, the specific increase in Internet usage could not be ascertained as a proper tab was not kept on the world wide web backbone.
Many users opted for IMs like Rediff Bol, Yahoo, Gmail and MSN chat to keep in touch with near and dear ones, not only in the city but also across the world, an ISPAI official said.
People stuck in offices used chatting to convey that they were safe and this went on as a chain reaction, and eventually resulted in declogging of the networks, he added.
Users logged on to blogs like mumbaitoday, mumbaimirror blog, yazadjal.com and blogspot.com to post their views on the web and to state they were safe and sound.
E-mails flooded into the city from distant places like San Franciso and Ohio, even though replies were not immediately sent.
However, the most novel method experienced was sending of SMS from the web by logging onto sites like Rediff, Google, Krify SMS and SMS2net.com.
SMS can be sent free of cost from these sites to mobile phones, and most of them were received at the user's end, diffusing tension at least for the moment.