Want to livestream the eclipse? Your cellphone may struggle

Livestreaming next month’s solar eclipse may not be as predictable as the event itself. 

If you plan to livestream the event from one of the prime viewing spots, here’s a thought: Keep your phone in your pocket, put on your paper shades and just enjoy the celestial wonder.

The Aug. 21 solar eclipse, when passage of the moon completely blocks out the sun, will be seen first in Oregon and cut diagonally across 14 states to South Carolina. It will be the first total solar eclipse visible coast-to-coast since 1918.

The best places to see it fall within a 60- to 70-mile-wide swath known as the “path of totality,” where there will be periods of total darkness ranging up to two minutes and 40 seconds. The path carves through largely rural areas, where cellphone service can be spotty at best, though, so it may not be possible to quickly post to Facebook, Instagram and the like even though carriers plan to temporarily boost capacity in some places.

“We’re expecting a good experience but there will be times at peak where the network will struggle,” said Paula Doublin, assistant vice president for construction and engineering for AT&T, the nation’s second-largest provider.

Some communities are hosting eclipse-watch gatherings that are expected to draw tens of thousands of people.

The 6,700 residents of Madras, Oregon, will be far outnumbered by visitors, and Verizon, AT&T and Sprint all plan to bring portable towers for its event.

AT&T will deploy eight portable cell towers across the country — in Madras and Mitchell, Oregon; Columbia, Owensville and Washington in Missouri; Carbondale, Illinois; Hopkinsville, Kentucky; and Glendo Reservoir, Wyoming.

“It is very much akin to a national championship week that occurs with the NCAA or pro sports, except it’s happening in a 3,000-mile-long band,” Doublin said.

Sprint and Verizon Wireless, which is the nation’s largest cellphone company, say recent network enhancements have reduced the need for deployment of…

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