Telecom Collapse?

Jack Bates jbates at
Thu Dec 4 16:46:51 UTC 2008

Chris Adams wrote:
> Once upon a time, Paul Stewart <pstewart at> said:
>> What worries me the most is a power outage longer than say 8 hours.
>> This is the typical battery time at most cell sites, telco remotes and
>> many telco CO's.  Beyond those 8 hours, it's quite probable that the
>> site will go down and you'll have no cell or landline anyways.
> The AT&T (BellSouth) remotes around here installed in the last 10 years
> or so typically have natural gas generators installed, and the COs have
> a pair of generators for redundancy.  Even many of the cell towers have
> generators.  The telco infrastructure is pretty well backed up (I don't
> know how well tested any of it is of course).

The ILECs that use my service have generators at the large sites and a 
number of generator trucks to make rounds recharging remote battery 
systems. Quite a few of them have permanent generators installed to 
power one or more remotes in the field. Some are still using remote 
power technologies on their remotes.

The storm that blacked out northern Oklahoma a couple of years ago left 
some towns without services for over a month. The phone system itself 
was impacted in a few of the ILECs, but they never dropped below 80% and 
  most of that was due to actual line damage, not power. A few of the 
ILECS effected didn't even blink the entire time.

That being said, most small ILECs can cope better with the costs. It's 
easier to manage < 10 towns than it is to manage 100+ towns.

> On the other hand, it appears that the cable infrastructure doesn't even
> all have batteries (I know some people whose cable voice and data
> services blink with the power).

None of the cable services I know of around here can make 8 hours, much 
less 1-6 weeks. Such outages are rare, but they do happen and Oklahoma 
takes more than it's fair share. Lots of modems support battery backup, 
but the cable plant itself is prone to power outages.


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