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power to the internet


This article details some of the issues with California's "new reality" 
of planned blackouts. One of the big things that came to light with 
these blackouts is that our network infrastructure's resilience is 
pretty lacking. While I was (surprisingly to me) ok with my DSL 
connection out in the boonies, lots and lots of people with cable 
weren't so lucky. And I'm not sure how bad the situation is with 
cellular infrastructure, but I assume it's not much better than cable. 
And I wouldn't doubt that other DSL deployments go dark when power is 
down. I have no clue with fiber.

So I guess what I'm wondering is what can we do about this? What should 
we do about this? These days IP access is not just convenience, it's the 
way we go about our lives, just like electricity itself. At base, it 
seems to me that network operators should be required to keep the lights 
on in blackouts just like POTS operators do now. If I have power to 
light my modem or charge in my phone, I should be able to get onto the 
net. That seems like table stakes.

One of the things we learned also is that the blackouts seem to last 
between 2-3 days apiece. I happen to have a generator since I'm out in 
the boonies and our power gets cut regularly because of snow, but not 
everyone has that luxury. I kind of want to think that my router+modem 
use about 20 watts, so powering it up would take about 1.5kwh for 3 
days. a quick google look shows that I'd probably need to shell out $500 
or so for a battery of that capacity, and that's doesn't include your 
phones, laptops, tv's, etc power needs. What does that mean? That is a 
major expense for a lot of people.

On the bright side, I hear that power generator companies stocks have 
gone through the roof.

On the dark side, this is probably coming to a lot more states and 
countries due to climate change. Australia. Sigh.