I’ve seen the pictures – but I can’t really believe what I see up and around Duluth. The flooding is terrible. You think about the roads and the roofs and fields – but not the telecommunications. But apparently the floods took down a lot of the means for communication this week. Internet access went out for Frontier customers. Cell and 911 access was out all over.
I want to thank Paul Bergman for taking the time to answer my questions while in the midst of cleaning up the water damage…
Yes the safety of all the citizens of Lake County was again jeopardized because of an old communications network that was never updated after many failures such as what has just happened. Only a network with redundant features like Lake County is constructing would have eliminated the loss of 911, Internet and cell phone use again for our citizens.
It’s remaniscent of the outages they experienced in January 2010 when a broken steam pipe left the area without internet, phone or wireless service – and it makes the case, more dramatically than I suspect they’d like that improvements are needed in the area. From what I’ve heard no one has been hurt – but I can only imagine the unnecessary worry and added running around involved when a catastrophe hits and citizens have no way to phone for help and the community has no way to check in with citizens or with other departments.
Friends in the area have described the damage to me – and it sounds as if road repair and maybe construction will be required. Perhaps that’s a silver lining and an opportunity to install conduit while they’re working – a “Fix Once” spin on the “Dig Once” strategy.
There has been a lot of debate on need for improved infrastructure in Lake County – one issue concerns the percentage of served versus unserved homes. Perhaps the definition of served needs to come with a reliability factor in the area. Two major outages in two and a half years seems less like a fluke and more like a weak link.
[Added June 21: more info on the storms from Duluth News Tribune]