back to article Mobe networks battle to bring comms back after Hurricane Michael smashes US Gulf Coast

Verizon and AT&T are slowly bringing the Florida Panhandle, and surrounding areas in the US, back online after Hurricane Michael devastated its mobile and fiber networks. The category-four storm has killed at least 18 people, leveled neighborhoods, and left more than 350,000 folks without power, since making landfall on …

  1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    WTF?

    You'd think the Air Force would move the $150 million apiece fighters out of the storm's path

    They knew the storm was coming. Just move the fighters to another airbase within a few hundred miles, and fly them back once the storm has passed. I realize these planes have lots of complex logistical requirements, but you aren't going to be flying missions in these planes from their home base in the middle of the storm, so you might as well have them sitting on the tarmac at a base where they can't be damaged by the storm. Nor can you fly missions right after the storm has passed if the planes at the home base have been damaged, so its not like you can argue that "We needed to keep the planes at home so we could resume operations immediately after the storm had passed."

    Fly them to Homestead or some other nearby air base when the winds start picking up at their home base, have the pilots hang out at the officers club at whatever base they are staging at, and fly them back once the weather clears up and the home base can handle landings again.

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: You'd think the Air Force would move the $150 million apiece fighters out of the storm's path

      You're thinking like a normal person, try thinking like you are afflicted with military intelligence.

    2. Jim Mitchell

      Re: You'd think the Air Force would move the $150 million apiece fighters out of the storm's path

      http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/24204/setting-the-record-straight-on-why-fighter-jets-cant-all-simply-fly-away-to-escape-storms

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: You'd think the Air Force would move the $150 million apiece fighters out of the storm's path

        Re: TheDrive

        Interesting article, raises many points, fundamentally:

        1. Modern military fighter jets are much less robust and reliable than a WWII Spitfire.

        2. the US military have got complacent and decided it doesn't need bomb/storm proof shelters/hangers...

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: You'd think the Air Force would move the $150 million apiece fighters out of the storm's path

        "http://www.thedrive.com"

        A pity that's inaccessible to those of us who block marketing cookies or are in GDPR-land.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: You'd think the Air Force would move the $150 million apiece fighters out of the storm's path

          >A pity that's inaccessible to those of us who block marketing cookies or are in GDPR-land.

          Worked fine from my laptop with Adblock Plus etc enabled and accessing the Internet via a UK region IP address.

    3. Dave Rickmers

      Re: You'd think the Air Force would move the $150 million apiece fighters out of the storm's path

      Homestead was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Nature bats last.

    4. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: You'd think the Air Force would move the $150 million apiece fighters out of the storm's path

      Apparently, there were 55 F-22s stationed at Tyndall AFB. 33 were flown out to Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, OH. The rest apparently were not flightworthy for one reason or another. It's not surprising that some couldn't be flown. It's probably not prudent to hastily slap an engine or landing gear back into a $150,000,000 airframe that is under repair. But I'm a bit surprised at the number they couldn't fly or chose not to fly.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: You'd think the Air Force would move the $150 million apiece fighters out of the storm's path

        "But I'm a bit surprised at the number they couldn't fly or chose not to fly."

        Modern military aircraft appear to be very delicate and/or very expensive to keep flight-worthy. This seems to lead to significant down-time. I wonder how many of their US sourced aircraft the Luftwaffe have flying this week?

  2. joed

    OTOH, the utility pole infrastructure (as pictured) does not need a hurricane to fall apart every few seasons. Only to be stubbornly replaced with even lower quality sticks (them trees are not what they'd used to be). All because constant fixing the crap is supposedly cheaper than doing it right.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Outside of storms, falling trees, and wayward cars, a wooden utility pool should last for decades. If they don't, your utility has issues.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        >a wooden utility pool should last for decades.

        Probably find most of the wooden poles were installed in the 1950's :)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      It did cross my mind that in an area subject to a hurricane "season", just how much of the utilities might be delivered overground, ie the "last mile".

  3. James 51 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Any chance they could ship a few of the repair teams to Puerto Rico? There's a lot of work for fibre repair and installation teams there.

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    why not stick the fibre underground?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      That involves digging, which is tiring and covers you in dirt.

      Plus, the beancounters prefer spending money on fixing tomorrow than on digging today because digging is more expensive in the short run and nobody knows what the long run is anymore.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        """Spending Money"""

        <quote>Plus, the beancounters prefer spending money on fixing tomorrow than on digging today because digging is more expensive in the short run and nobody knows what the long run is anymore.</quote>

        Today's MBA induced mentality is to always think in short term objectives (e.g. next quarter), you will not be around to reap the rewards of any long term thinking, as it is likely you will be gone in 5 years.

        Second, there is that good old debate over CAPEX vs OPEX.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: """Spending Money"""

          >as it is likely you will be gone in 5 years.

          Sounds a long-time, back in the 1980's, it seemed the norm in IT was to change jobs every 18~24 months.

          >Second, there is that good old debate over CAPEX vs OPEX.

          Well one requires lots of proposals, quotes, meetings, sign-offs the other simply comes out of the budget, requiring minimal approval "just do what it takes, but get it fixed fast!".

    2. ivan5

      Think of all the arguments about who can put their fibre in the trench depending on what company digs it. To solve that problem they could do what the village did here. All the underground duct work belongs to the village, power, phone and soon to be fibre, the village gets a small fee from those that use the duct work and, we the villagers, don't see ugly cables strung all over the place as it was 30 odd years ago.

      There is no reason the US towns and villages couldn't do the same, it might solve the problem they seem to have with only one fibre supplier because any one could use the duct work.

      1. An0n C0w4rd

        @ivan5 who fixes the duct if someone digs into it? who manages the notifications out the consumers of the duct? it sounds like a simple plan, but the devil is in the details. utilities aren't going to be happy waiting around for the village to do the duct replacement

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "who fixes the duct if someone digs into it?"

          The owner of the duct. The person/company who damaged it pays for it.

    3. An0n C0w4rd

      Underground means either cut'n'cover, which has it's own challenges, or a horizontal directional drilling machine. Both are expensive propositions. If there are utility poles then it's much easier/cheaper to stick cables on the pole and (in most location) does not require permitting from the local government for the transit sections - the bit that goes from the pole to the customer may require some permitting, not sure TBH

      Additionally, if it's underground then you're putting amplifiers and other electrical equipment either in manholes, utility ducts or ground mounted cabinets, which get flooded and knocked out. Not to mention the ever-present backhoe fade. No-one ever dug up a utility pole and claimed they didn't see it and it wasn't marked on a map. After 9/11 the VZ telephone exchange next to ground zero had all it's cables underground in massive ducts and tens of thousands of copper pairs got cut by falling debris

      Burying the cables doesn't solve the problems, it just changes the ones you have to fix and perhaps when you have to fix them

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Underground means either cut'n'cover"

        Look at microtrenching - it's far simpler and cost effective. Fibre, especially passive one, doesn't need many amplifiers and powered devices - which are usually much far afar, and can be protected against floods.

        Sure, a couple of 400m towers falling over could damage underground cables as well - but it looks it's an event rarer than a hurricane or severe storm.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: "Underground means either cut'n'cover"

          But this is a coastal area, meaning a high water table. Always a risk of an underwater access flooding in such a place, plus some stuff like transformers have to stay above ground (speak from experience -- Pacific island prone to typhoons; trenched cables out of necessity, yet there can still be outages).

        2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

          Re: "Underground means either cut'n'cover"

          "Look at microtrenching"

          Micro-trenching works in limited areas. Soils that shift seasonally will shear and grind up anything near the surface. My town is using thick plastic pipes and burying them deep enough that cracking pavement won't hit them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Underground means either cut'n'cover"

            Microtrenching can go as far as 24in. I read recently about Cayman Islands being cabled this way, so it looks it's not a problem even in coastal areas.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: "Underground means either cut'n'cover"

              Microtrenching will work for optical cables and the like, but if you're going to trench an area, the most important stuff to trench would be the power cables, which require special handling and are tougher to fix when broken while buried. Temember, part of the panhandle's problem was that everything was knocked down: including the power.

      2. vtcodger Silver badge

        Amen, We've lived with underground utilities for 25 years and have some experience with outages -- Power (4 times - one unknown, 1 "backhoe", 2 due to inadequate repair of the backhoe damage), Cable TV (1 - corrosion, 1 due to snowplow plowing above ground distribution box), Telephone (2 -backhoe), Natural Gas (0 thankfully), Water (several due to breaks in the distribution piping that required shutting down water to the neighborhood). Much better than overhead wiring, but repair is MUCH more difficult.

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