FCC looking into BART mobile phone shutdown

The Bay Area transit agency cut some mobile phone service to thwart a protest last week

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is looking into last week's shutdown of mobile phone services on a San Francisco commuter train line.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit District, (BART) which carries close to 350,000 commuters each day, pulled the plug on mobile phone base stations operating in some of its San Francisco stations last Thursday in an attempt to disrupt a planned protest. The outage lasted about three hours.

The move sparked outrage by civil libertarians who said that BART's actions amounted to an infringement of free speech, and -- because 911 mobile services were also cut -- a threat to public safety.

Now the FCC is taking an interest, a spokesman for the federal agency said Monday.

"Any time communications services are interrupted, we seek to assess the situation," said FCC spokesman Neil Grace in an e-mail. "We are continuing to collect information about BART's actions and will be taking steps to hear from stakeholders about the important issues those actions raised, including protecting public safety and ensuring the availability of communications networks."

Thursdays planned protest did not materialize. It had been planned in response to the July 3 fatal shooting of a knife-wielding passenger by BART police, the second fatal shooting by BART authorities in just over two years.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationtransportationBay Area Rapid Transit DistrictU.S. Federal Communications Commissionmobilegovernmentindustry verticals

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Deals on Good Gear Guide

Deals on Good Gear Guide


Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs


Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?