Telecom Collapse?

Paul Bosworth pbosworth at
Thu Dec 4 16:13:14 UTC 2008

In my experience with a fiber to the home deployment I feel that the trend
of moving away from the stability of POTS lines for emergency service is
acceptable for most people. Most battery backups allow for around 36 hours
of dialtone. The overwhelming majority of power outages last nowhere near
this long. In addition, when used for emergencies only, a cellular phone can
last for several days. During Hurricane Gustav my home in Baton Rouge was
without power for nine days. Between my wife's cellphone and my own we were
able to maintain emergency service for the entire duration of the outage.
Transitioning off of the POTS grid to newer technologies requires a new
approach to how people prepare for and respond to outages and disasters, but
I feel that the alternatives to POTS access are acceptible.

People generally find a way to be resourceful. During prolonged outages I've
had customers who actually hooked up generators to their ONT's to supply
their home with not only phone, but internet and video service as well. Of
course not everyone has a generator, but the option is still there. During
Gustav people lined up at the CVS near my house (which was on generator) to
use their electrical outlets to charge their cellphones. These options are
of course quite an inconvenience compared to having battery on a POTS line
during an outage, but then again maintaining a POTS line just for outages is
quite an inconvenience on most peoples' budget, too.
Paul H Bosworth

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