Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Can you Hear Me Now?

Kind of related to the past two days’ posts, recently ACS (Alaska Communications Systems), which is Anchorage’s phone company, announced a deal with ATT to string a cable along the ocean floor from the rest of civilization to Southcentral Alaska. What do you suppose that costs? That’s a long way. I think that would be a neat project to work on.

I’m curious to see if that will improve our phone call lag time—that thing where in a call Outside to family or friends, we end up talking over the top of each other, similar to an overseas call, because, well, we are overseas, I guess. Being posted to a military base up here is considered an overseas assignment.

But, regarding phones, it can be hard to keep up regular business communications, since our small, co-op Valley phone company has whoopses and outages not infrequently. With so much housing growth in our area and lax to non-existent Borough requirements for building (permits may soon be required for home building, what with all the resultant problems of letting anyone build anything), it’s no wonder that so many DIY homebuilders on caterpillars back into utility poles or dig through phone lines. Then there are things out of the phone companies’ control such as sun flares and problems with satellites. Apparently, we’re at a bad angle compared to folks at lower latitudes, depending on the day/time and where the satellites cross over or triangulate with each other. Just when I start to feel like I’m living a “normal” life, in a “regular” drywall and siding home, driving on paved roads, then I’ll try to get on the Internet and find out that it’ll be out for several hours due to atmospheric interferences and that I actually do live near the edge of the earth.

I also saw a program on PBS a couple nights ago about a bunch of scientists way outside of Fairbanks getting ready to send up rockets into active displays of Northern Lights, to gather more data about those bursts of energy. They want to see how the light and heat from those disturbances might contribute to issues with telecommunications and things like airplane navigation systems. Northern Lights season is upon us. I’ll keep you posted!
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