The Redwood Technology Consortium maintains a discussion mailing list that anyone can subscribe to whether you’re a member of RTC or not. Since the latest fiber outage there has been lots of heated discussion on the list, many people are saying, it’s about time we get this (alternate, redundant, ok second) fiber line built. What’s the hold up? Let’s “git ‘er done!” These are all great sentiments. But in fact the RTC has been advocating and pushing for this second fiber line since the first one finally got completed. Back then the possibility of four outages Fiber Optic Cablein a year seemed remote. I can remember an AT&T representative at the first Broadband Forum saying that in spite of a dozen close calls, an actual break was unlikely. And if by some chance something did happen they had their microwave towers as back up. “Ahem”. So much for corporate assurances.

So it’s great that there seems to finally be more people energetically speaking up about how the telecommunications infrastructure needs to be upgraded for economic stability, growth and overall public safety. Even Rob Arkley is busy posting to the RTC list and rousing the rabble.

But channeling the energy engendered by this latest fiber outage remains elusive. It’s a multi-million dollar project that no one is going to invest in unless there’s some reasonable expectation of a return. Still, some people are working on it. Perhaps public officials can be pressured (encouraged?) to support this private effort through a streamlined regulatory environment, low cost loans, etc.

In the meantime an established wireless provider from southern Humboldt is planning on expanding to cover more of the county. It’s a temporary solution and only one for those who can afford to pay two ISPs simultaneously in case one goes down. But if they can pull it off, and some can take advantage of it, more power to them.