In 'The Stolen Earth', the Earth was moved out of its place. I don't think that the Daleks were so thoughtful to move the satellites too. There's a couple of scenes showing TV-news and even a talk show. And we see the whole world's phones call to the Doctor. So, without satellites, how could everything work without difficulties? I'm really not an expert, but even with cable network, shouldn't there be at least some kind of effect?

This might not be the most brilliant question, but it bothers me.


Cell phones are based on a terrestrial network that doesn't require satellites. The most common way you see them are through cell towers but there are actually a lot of different classes of cells that range from huge towers to microcells you can get from various vendors to enhance your signal in relatively remotes places (that still have Internet).

In these cases, as long as the various physical networks connecting the towers are in place, cell phones will continue to work.

Now, if we didn't have satellites, then some phones won't work but those don't apply to your more common phones. This is also why you can lose signal for a phone if you go into unpopulated areas; satellite phones always work as long as they can connect to a satellite.

For cable. Most of the satellite dishes you see outside of a cable place are to handle non-local channels. This would include things like HBO, CSPAN, etc. Without satellite, those would probably be gone.

However, local stations don't usually push up to a satellite because it isn't worth the energy. They broadcast locally (that is why you also see tall towers near cable companies) or they transmit directly via wire to the cable companies. In those cases, the signal would be okay because there are no satellites involved.

Another point to mention, most local stations get varying amounts of programming from corporate offices. This would be the show you like but not include the local news. Without satellites, those would probably be down but a station could then supplement it with more local programming.

So, without satellites, cell phones would work but you would probably only get local stations and programming would be probably be poor.


Why wouldn't the satellites move along with the Earth?

We don't know exactly how the Dalek planet-snatching machine worked, but it seemed to somehow instantaneously transport the Earth from its natural position to their den in the Medusa Cascade, rather than towing it as the Doctor(s) did to return it. There's no reason to believe that such an instantaneous transfer wouldn't also bring with it all objects under the control of the Earth's gravitational field.

After all, the people and things on the surface of the Earth were brought along, despite not technically being part of the Earth. It seems likely that airborne objects like clouds and aeroplanes were also part of the transfer, despite not even touching the Earth. So why not satellites too?

  • I guess they could've. I'd imagine that the Daleks used some sort of field to move the Earth. So that 'field' would be a round shell containing the Earth, and everything below that would've been moved. So it depends on how large the 'field' actually was. If it was big enough, the satellites came too. But if I'd be in charge of the moving, I'd deliberately leave them out.
    – Renttutar
    Aug 31 '16 at 13:06
  • Captain Jack Harkness mentions an 'artificial shell' over the Earth, that holds the oxygen and heat within. So I'd say the 'field' contained the same space as that shell. (I hope you understand me, my english is really terrible today)
    – Renttutar
    Aug 31 '16 at 13:13
  • @Renttutar Good find! There we are then - it's just a question ofhow far that shell extends. Containing artificial satellites but not the moon seems quite reasonable to me.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 31 '16 at 13:16
  • Exactly. But thinking from the enemy's point of view. Considering that the satellites are used by military and UNIT etc. I'd believe they were cut off, or at least some of them. If you're planning to wipe out a planet and it's people (or something like that), you'd leave them as defenceless as possible, right?
    – Renttutar
    Aug 31 '16 at 13:30
  • @Renttutar But they didn't really care about wiping out the planet and its people. Earth was just one of the 27 planets they were using to create the reality bomb which would wipe out the entire universe. Why bother disabling one planet's defences when all of existence would soon be eradicated anyway?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 31 '16 at 13:32

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