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Great letter Kevin. Thanks for taking the time to pull these facts together.
I will do just that. And thank you!
What I don't know is if this also brought down 911 again. I hope that our folks at the County and the City are shaking the tree hard out there! The PUC and the Governor's office should be getting an earful!
I just found out that CenturyLink had yet another outage over the weekend, though most folks would not have noticed. Inbound calling was down from Saturday night at about 11pm till about 11am Sunday morning. Go Alpine could not receive any calls in for just about 12 hours! This was not a result of the power outage, just a coincidence. Once again... we are seeing systemic problems CenturyLink that seem persistent and troubling.
That is incorrect George. I know of hundreds, actually thousands of "local" phone numbers that are with carriers other than CenturyLink, and even if your carrier is CenturyLink there is a very real possibility that the calls are not actually hitting the PSTN in Steamboat. The exchanges, 870, 871, 875, 879 are traditionally Steamboat numbers, yes, but if the number is with Comcast, Verizon, Level3, Vonage or any other over the top provider, and even CenturyLink's CLEC division, then the call is hitting the PSTN outside of town, and it's carried as IP traffic from here to the carrier's co-location center.
By the way, how do you think cell phones work? In most cases there is fiber optic cable feeding cell towers. Up here it is often provisioned with bandwidth from CenturyLink. And yes, those cell carriers are pushing the calls to wherever they hit the PSTN using IP.
It is a very challenging landscape these days, and as a business owner and purveyor of these kinds of products, it is discouraging that we appear to be so vulnerable. This morning we had a power outage for about 45 minutes. I don't know how widespread it was, but I know that businesses that still had power could not get calls in! It makes me think something in CenturyLink's was affected by the power outage. Steamboat Medical Group could not get calls in for almost an hour, and they had power. So what the heck happened?
As a community we just need to recognize how important this infrastructure is to us, we need to tear down barriers that keep us from helping ourselves build better infrastructure, and we need to keep pushing for more and better!
Ah but George, you miss my point. The thing is that "traditional" phone service is not what it was a decade ago. 15 years ago most calls from one place in Steamboat to another never left the Steamboat central office. Today, with the explosion of cell phone use, dynamic IP-based T1 services, VoIP, cable phone service, and over the top providers, my best educated guess is that 80 to 90% of calls from one destination in Steamboat to another require some hops out of town to be completed. VoIP is not an app, though it is the bane of my existence from time to time. Reality check... most calls you make each and every day involve VoIP at one end or both.
By the way, a personal note to all of my friends who work hard for CenturyLink, Comcast, Zirkel, Mammoth, or Resort Internet in this community every day... this community is blessed to have a fantastic group of dedicated professionals supporting it. This is not an indictment of the men and women who live and work here in these businesses by any means. It is about grappling with living at the end of a thread of glass that spans from Steamboat to I-70.
If you would like more background on this we have set up a website: http://www.yes2broadband.com.
What these continuing failures continues to illustrate is that we are vulnerable because a great percentage of our internet service rides on 1 fiber pathway that is in the middle of a construction zone right now. And I have news for you... if you look at the mileage that fiber travels... portions of it will ALWAYS be in a construction zone.
We do need to recognize that the only new utility of the 21st century has quickly become the most important in many respects. In fact, increasingly its true that delivering traditional utlility services like water, electric, and sewer now requires reliable broadband to work properly, and yet in our neck of the woods this basic infrastructure is incredibly vulnerable.
I am supporting the measure you will see this November from many authorities to exempt us from the restrictive legislation known as Senate Bill 152. This effort does not solve these problems in and of itself, but what it does do is open up more possibilities for our region to grow its broadband capacity and takes back the rights these authirities had 10 years ago to participate in the development and commerce of broadband infrastructure. I hope you'll all join me in supporting this. It does not raise taxes!
By the way, if you are looking for a way to express your dissatisfaction with the level of service we are afforded by CenturyLink in our region, if you are tired of wondering whether you call to 911 will make it to an operator in Routt County, and if you would like your vote to send a clear message this November... vote YES to every Senate Bill 05-152 measure you see on your ballot this November! CenturyLink opposes the exemption... big surprise since the original legislation primarily benefits them at the expense of our local governments and citizens.
I wish that there was 1 simple solution to this problem, 1 magic ballot measure, but there is not. As far as the voice side of the equation is concerned, VoIP has shifted the paradigm by requiring that switching of calls happen in the cloud in a great number of circumstances, not through a local central office. Your area code and local exchange mean little in terms of the geographic route that the voice path actually traverses.
Most larger consumers of voice now use IP based services that route their voice traffic over IP and calls hit the PSTN (publically switched telephone network) somewhere else like Denver, Dallas, LA, or Anywhere. And now that you can get voice service from your cable internet provider, ISP, or through a 3rd party "over the top" hosted offering using the internet, voice travels a very complex course to get from 1 location in Steamboat to another. If you think it is silly that the USPS sometimes sends local mail to Denver and then back up here for delivery, then think about calling your neighbor and having that call path connect through 6 different states and 12 routers on its way next door. That is the reality communications in our IP age.
Last login: Tuesday, September 15, 2015
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