Katrina response, private and public

Bill Woodcock woody at pch.net
Thu Jan 21 02:47:45 UTC 2010

On Jan 19, 2010, at 3:56 PM, Martin Hannigan wrote:
> Re your plan to potentially run a cable from SD to PaP. Interesting. Looks like 300nm to me. I think you're going to need op amp and power.

The idea was to do a festoon cable instead, landing at coastal towns along the way, and using Ethernet switches to break out local service as well as repeating signal.

> On the Columbus run, they're going to need a landing station.

Yep, I expect they hope that the situation will work in their favor, and that they'll be granted one, which would break Teleco's current landing monopoly.

> I'm going to speculate that this is part of BTC's problem; no landing station of the subsea route was disrupted by the quake

The landing station building collapsed.  There's no evidence of any damage to the fiber, though that's possible as well.

> I'd be thinking microwave and towers. Faster. Cheaper.

They've already got that, but "faster" only in the sense that it's already done...  They're limited to a few STM1s, which were quickly overwhelmed by the relief workers.  This is a common problem in disaster relief, we saw it particularly when we were working in Indonesia and Thailand during the tsunami...  An area that had quite modest Internet usage, and infrastructure which may not be great, but is sufficient to its present requirements, gets a flood of relief workers in who all want to use Skype simultaneously, and determine that the perfectly-functional and previously-sufficient Internet is "broken" and needs to be reengineered.

The existing chain of microwave relays is the Haitian ISPs' fix for the problem of Teleco having a monopoly fiber landing and setting astronomical prices on access to it.

I'm not interested in reengineering anything, but I am interested in making sure that if aid money goes to the incumbent to fix their fiber, at least the community gets something out of it in the form of the monopoly being broken.  Otherwise the fiber being fixed does no one any good, because they still won't be able to use it, same as before the earthquake.

It's very easy to spend money and make things worse than they were before.


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