No. of Recommendations: 4
The internet drops more things I imagine than the old phone companies or phone lines ever did. At least at one time that was the case. One good old friend who was a tech with ma bell during the early days of the internet used to say, "there is no internet, only phone companies". The internet is built with redundancies to last and survive. There would be no long term outage. It would take a wide spread nuclear war to put out the internet.


The phone company has not considered the internet "critical infrastructure". As such the redundancies and five 9s demanded of phone equipment has not been demanded of all of the internet infrastructure.

For example, after hurricane Rita we lost all of the DSL internet in the Beaumont area. Now most people did not notice because they either were not there are had no power to run their computers, but I noticed because I was in a hardened Central Office with a generator and a direct fiber feed back to the main DSL hub in Beaumont. Everything running on DSL went down after about 5 hours because the equipment was on a battery back up, but not on the phone company back up generator. The thinking was "It is OK, we are not really the phone company and 5 hours is enough anyway."

We have had similar problems with building dedicated to internet infrastructure. In one case the power company lost a feed to a major building in Houston. It was not a central office and the managers there claimed "We are not critical infrastructure" as an excuse to not adhere to phone company policy and procedures. When the power company took the power down to the building, a gas turbine generator failed, then a 1 megawatt diesel ate a turbocharges. (It was a cool site with flames shooting several feet out of the exhaust) the other generators could not handle the load and the battery plant went into a slow discharge.

When the managers over the equipment inside the building realized what was going to happen, they suddenly decided that in fact "this is critical infrastructure."

To a great extent a lot of that thinking is going away and all infrastructure is considered critical. (The been counters ask "If it ain't critical, why do we own it?") We used to get a lot of internet service disruptions caused by upgrades, these were being done outside of the maintenance window, now I am seeing less and less of these. However, with the internet, there really is no fixed maintenance window as even in the deep night the machines are handling house keeping chores.

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