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View Diary: Bundle or Nothing: Big Telecoms ENDING Universal Phone Service (306 comments)

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  •  We have U-verse and are generally happy with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DuzT

    it.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 03:53:10 AM PDT

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    •  watch what happens during a power failure. (33+ / 0-)

      If your phone is part of the "bundle," it will be running on a backup battery in your basement or garage, which should last a couple of hours on standby or about 20 minutes of conversation.  After that, good luck calling for help in an emergency.   BTW, cell towers have the same problem: limited backup battery, and then they go offline.  So even if your turn off your mobile handset to save power, the towers may not be there when you turn it on again.

      In the industry we have a term for that.  We call it "local battery," and the last time it was ubiquitous was in the wooden box style wall phones with the crank on the side and two batteries in the bottom compartment.  That would be about 1915.

      Sorry, but them's the facts.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 05:05:27 AM PDT

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      •  Oh, you're right about the power failure stuff. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jessical, G2geek

        But it's been pretty easy to fix.

        That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

        by concernedamerican on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 06:39:54 AM PDT

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        •  fix how? what do you do for backup? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mrkvica

          There are hand-cranked radios, flashlights, and generators, specifically designed to charge cellphones.  But the towers themselves are also an issue, with limited backup power.

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 05:48:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Some cell towers have auto-failover generators (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jessical, gatorcog, Brown Thrasher

        I know, 'cuz we bought a used one. :-)

        It's propane fired, and designed to be literally bullet-proof, fire-proof and almost maintenance free. They use them in really remote locations, so they don't have to send crews in by helicopter unless things are really, really broken.

        •  how long does the propane supply last? (0+ / 0-)

          If three days or more, it's probably fairly safe to back up the phone service.  Much less than that and it can go down.  

          In urban areas though, usually we're taking batteries, with backup measured in hours rather than days.

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 05:49:42 PM PDT

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      •  Landline's not really any better. (3+ / 0-)

        Unless you're somewhere with buried telecom lines, you'll lose the telephone lines with the power lines.

        Cell phone towers generally have back-up generators, so unless the power stays off for weeks at a time, they should be fine.  If you need to charge your cellphone, use your mobile gasoline generator (i.e. your car)

        •  Landline systems have backup batteries (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          entrelac, MGross, elfling

          systems also.

          I used to work on em.

          •  telco COs: three days plus a month. (0+ / 0-)

            Three days of central office battery in the basement, and a diesel or turbine generator with a month's worth of fuel on hand at all times.  

            The generator goes into action shortly after the batteries begin to discharge.

            And back in the days of Strowger (step-by-step) switches, power consumption of the switching machine was practically nil when the CO has no traffic, for example overnight.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 05:56:13 PM PDT

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          •  Me too... (0+ / 0-)

            "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

            by Bluefin on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 07:17:48 PM PDT

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        •  We've lost power for a week or more 3 times (7+ / 0-)

          in the past 15 years due to either hurricanes or ice storms. Not once has the landline phone stopped working.

        •  if the outside wiring is destroyed... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, ebohlman, mrkvica

          .... for example by a tornado, or a drunk driver hitting a pole and bringing it down, sure you'll lose service: telecoms as well as power.  

          But the power grid is more susceptible to that, since its usual safe/protective mode is to shut down larger sections than are subject to the actual damage.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 05:52:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  My experience is different. (0+ / 0-)

          Landline service is almost always up, no matter how badly power is interrupted.  Yes, the lines may be down after a hurricane or something, but it almost always Just Works.

      •  Telephones are electric - they require electricity (0+ / 0-)

        Your standard POTS line also requires electricity and a battery backup -- it's just that the Telco takes care of that at the Central Office.

        By law, the CO has to provide 8 hours battery backup, which is twice the 4 hours usually provided by your VOIP system's in-home BBU. However, that backup is needed for the public switched network and they don't necessarily have to offer any of it to you.

        (In practice, most COs have some serious generators on hand and in all but the most dire circumstances, they'll continue business as usual. But all the battery in the world won't help you if the cracked utility pole that caused your power outage also had a Telco strand on it. Broken is broken.)

        And all that is academic unless you still keep a $15 no-features phone in your house (the kind with exactly two cords on it: the twisty one connecting the receiver to your phone, and the flat one connecting your phone to the RJ11/RJ14 jack on the wall).

        sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words

        by harrije on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 05:36:49 PM PDT

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        •  yes, that would be a "type 2500 set" in the USA. (0+ / 0-)

          In the UK the equivalent would be type 8746 if I recall correctly, though later models are more common for example the Tribune and Statesman and so on.  

          You can find "2500 sets" online and via Ebay at prices in the $20 - $40 range, sometimes less for used ones, sometimes a lot more for "vintage" models in relatively rare colors.  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 05:59:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Most cell sites (towers) have in addition to (0+ / 0-)

        battery backup power, diesel gensets and fuel tanks that allow them to remain working during (long) commercial power outage times. Just like the landline and wireless switching centers/telco CO's themselves. As long as the diesel fuel tanks can be refilled anyway.
         Those gensets are similar to the ones you can get for home use, but commercial grade, and sized for the load.
        Micro-cells not so much though, although they do generally have some battery backup UPS durability provided.

        BTW, cell towers have the same problem: limited backup battery, and then they go offline.

        "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans Willkommen auf das Vierte Reich! Sie Angelegenheit nicht mehr.

        by Bluefin on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 07:16:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I expect that with mine. (0+ / 0-)

        Unfortunately I don't have much choice in my apartment complex, but I'm not too bothered by it. I got a cordless phone because I figure, if the power goes out for long, I'm screwed anyway.

        "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

        by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 08:29:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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