A study is currently under way to determine the economic feasibility and potential strategies for getting a second fiber connection for our region. If you’re not aware, it was only in 2004 that SBC finally completed the only fiber line meaning data could be moved off the overburdened microwave towers. This gave us a faster, larger and for the most part, more reliable conduit for data services.

I say reliable for the most part because a single line will always make us vulnerable to being cut off and having all telecommunications disrupted. As a result, the Redwood Technology Consortium and others have been focused on bringing a second line in to the county. Thus the redundant fiber study now under way.

One of the things we have been saying, half jokingly, is that we need redundancy because with a single line we are one errant backhoe away from being cut off. Well, now appears it’s not really a joke after all. Here’s a quote from a Wired article called “The Backhoe: A Real Cyberthreat”:

“A study issued last month by the Common Ground Alliance, or CGA — an
industry group comprised of utilities and construction companies —
calculated that there were more than 675,000 excavation accidents in 2004 in
which underground cables or pipelines were damaged. And an October report
from the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions found that cable
dig-ups were the single most common cause of telecom outages over a 12-year
period ending in 2004, with the number of incidents dropping in recent years
but the severity and duration of the outages increasing.”


With the Internet and other communications so vital to every day life and even morre critical in an emergency, redundant fiber is not a luxury we can afford to wait for.