Broadband during PG&E PSPS
We have all experienced the first of what is likely to become the new normal for Nevada County in the late summer and early fall. We all of our stories of the good and the bad, for most of us its a major inconvenience and for some it's a few days to slow down. With my family of a teacher and two high school students, it was welcome downtime as we are well equipped with a great diesel generator, a legacy from the many years when we lived off the grid.
Typically the AT&T DSL facilities by the mailboxes on Red Dog Rd continue to work for 24hrs using back up batteries, but this time I noticed that we barely 12hrs into the PSPS when we lost internet service. At this point, we started to use the mobile data hot spots but soon started to notice that many of the conveniences around our home did not work, simple things like settling down in the evening to watch a relaxing show became a strange new form of gymnastics with the creative teens figuring out how to get media from their phones onto the tv, and then hooking up external batteries to keep the phones alive, not to mention the low internet performance as clearly we were not alone with turning to mobile data
This made me reflect on how well I will support my community when we build our fiber-optic network, and it became clear that it's currently a low bar. Ironically when the power came back on Friday afternoon my neighbors DSL worked fine, but alas I have a flashing red light which I think is a result of a failed card in the AT&T equipment at the mailbox. Sadly I now have to wait 6 days before a technician is scheduled to visit. This will take me to just over 10 days without a fixed wire connection to the internet, and whilst I am surviving it's certainly making our life more complex. A friend of mine closer to town shared that even Comcast had stopped working which seems remarkable as the amount of battery and generator power to keep the internet electronic working is trivial, and we are now seeing how fragile our systems are
The lack of high-speed internet coupled with the poor redundancy is doubling down my efforts to show that we don't have to live this way. I am planning that Nevada County Fiber will not only perform significantly better but that it will be much more available during winter storms or summer red flag days