CEO's Report – New Lisbon Telephone Company
CEO and General Manager[/caption]As I sit at my desk contemplating what to include in this quarter’s newsletter, I am aware of freezing rain coming down outside and the impending storm that is set to dump ice and snow on Central Indiana. Most of us think of winter storms as a time to stock up on food and drink, bring in more firewood, and stay at home to catch up on TV programs, Facebook posts, or just surf the web. But winter is the time of year that brings many challenges to telephone and Internet providers like NLTC.
Winter damage can be caused by ice and falling tree limbs on aerial lines, just like with power. There is also the risk of damage by vehicles, leaving the roadway due to slick conditions and hitting our above ground boxes and cabinets. These damages can affect only a few customers or literally thousands, depending on what cable or equipment is actually damaged. Any service outages result in our technicians being dispatched to repair the troubles, even in the worst of weather conditions. This means that they are out in the most hazardous of weather conditions, driving to a site or working alongside the road to restore service as expeditiously as possible. So, take a few minutes to drive carefully around those work sites. And think about them when you are home, next to the fire, making Facebook posts.
One of the other items that comes to mind during this time of the year is the inevitable loss of commercial power during weather events. Despite all the best efforts of the local power companies to “fool proof” their electrical grids, outages still occur. These outages have a negative impact on our network as well, as all the electronic components in our main office and scattered around in our cabinets need electrical power to function. When we lose this commercial power, a backup source is required to keep the network running. In the case of our Central Office, we have batteries and a diesel generator.
Our cabinets are similar, with batteries and a connection for a portable generator. Even our wireless installations are being upgraded to include battery backup systems. These backup systems have been deployed for many years by telcos, Internet Service Providers, and cable companies to ensure that the primary network did not fail in the event of a power outage.
One area that was generally not thought about was the customer’s premise. When all you had was Plain Old Telephone Service, affectionately known as POTS, fed by a copper cable, the phone was powered remotely from the telco’s central office. But when Fiber Optic service and the Internet was introduced, electronic equipment now had to be placed at the home. This also meant that there was no way to power it remotely, as the copper cables were abandoned in favor of fiber optic cable. So telcos, like NLTC, started putting battery backup systems at the customer’s homes.
These systems consist of a rectifier to convert the commercial power (120 volts AC) into the 48 DC power needed by our equipment, plus a small backup battery that provides power for up to eight hours in case of a commercial power outage. NLTC has been placing these systems on all Fiber To The Home installations at no charge to the customer since the beginning.
These systems nominally provide up to eight hours of power for the telco electronics (sorry, they won’t power your laptop, cell phone, or TV), allowing for a limited amount of Internet and phone use until the commercial power returns.
If you are an NLTC customer, you recently received a notice of changes in this backup power system triggered by a recent FCC ruling. In it, I outlined that NLTC’s policy of providing the backup power units at no charge would continue, and only replacement batteries or additional batteries needed for more than eight hours of run time would be billable, meaning that your service will continue to work just as it did when everything was fed by copper cables.
So, as you look out your window at the snow and ice that comes with every winter storm, remember that we at NLTC are striving hard to ensure your telephone, Internet, and video are always working. Whether it’s our techs on the road repairing troubles, or the dozens of power backup systems that we have in place, NLTC is there providing an affordable and reliable service.
Looks like it’s time to start sprinkling some more salt on the sidewalks……….
John E. Greene, Jr.
CEO and General Manager
New Lisbon Telephone Company and
New Lisbon Broadband and Communications, LLC