Analog Cell Phone Network Going Off-air Feb 18, 2008

United States - The FCC voted in 2002 to allow cell phone carriers to begin allowing their analog networks to go offline beginning February 18, 2008. As this date is fast approaching, as many as 500,000 OnStar users will no longer have access to emergency services. It is believed as many as one million cell phone users will be shut out, as will about 400,000 wireless home security systems. Many people are also completely unaware this shutdown is coming.

OnStar notified all of its users on its website in 2006 that the shutdown was coming in 2008. They've also mailed out notices to everyone this year, still many people appear to be completely in the dark - much like the way all analog TV signals will be going away in 2009. Proponents recognize that analog signals require more signal strength to transmit, and that means less battery life and worse sounding calls when signals are weak. In addition, the same EM spectrum used to carry analog signals can carry 16x more traffic using a digital network.

An alarm industry group called the Central Station Alarm Organization (CSAO) tried to get the FCC to delay its sunset on analog devices. The FCC denied that request stating that "digital networks are a much better use of the airwaves".

Read more ... CNN.