Lessons from Florida Hurricanes. The telephone (and by extension the
Internet) and power systems are more tightly coupled now.
…because of fiber optics and other new technologies
BellSouth has added to upgrade its networks over the past decade, the
systems are, ironically, more vulnerable to disasters. The key
problem: Many phone networks that used to rely on their own electricity
now depend partly on commercial power. That means that when the utility
company's power lines go down, the phones may go down, too.
The digital-loop devices also run on electricity
from the local power company's network, however. While they are
equipped with batteries, that backup lasts only about eight hours —
and less if there's a lot of Internet traffic over the network. Once
the batteries run out, phone and Internet service goes dead unless a
backup generator can be installed. While some
digital-loop carriers have a generator, BellSouth says it would be
economically unfeasible to put a generator at all 65,000 of them. [John Robb's Weblog]