Although good nutrition is always a top priority when you’re shoveling 8 hours a day, I’m not talking about bran flakes here.
When something like the Snowpocalypse hits, I don’t know about you, but my favorite things to do are:
- Curl up and stream a Netflix movie set in some place nice and warm like Hawaii or California or Minnesota. (Hey, it’s been 40 degrees there lately. That’s a heat wave as far as I’m concerned!)
- Facebook until I can’t see straight. When something as big as this happens and everyone is sent home from work, it’s like being at the Beauty Shop (you hear ALL the best gossip!)
- Get on the phone and brag to all my Colorado friends about the amazing ski conditions here (as if my car can even make it up to the ski hill right now… but they don’t need to know that part!)
But none of that would be possible without dependable utilities. Looking out the window today in Cordova, Alaska, you might be surprised that the phone lines, internet & electricity are still running as fast as they are. It’s really pretty amazing that there have been little to no utility outages even in these severe conditions. ”Our plant is buried in snow,” says Cordova Telephone Cooperative’s CEO, Paul Kelly. ”But we’ve stayed running by good planning, not by accident. The fiber cable that we were able to install with the hep of federal RUS funds has provided a more powerful and more reliable communications network than Cordova has ever seen before.”
It’s true. Cordovans used to laugh at the idea that someday we would be able to do things like Skype and watch Netflix (you know, that high-tech New York stuff). But since Cordova Telephone Cooperative brought in its new under-sea Fiber Optic Cable in July 2011, that’s all changed. We feel like we’ve finally caught up with you big city folks, and are ready to skype, netflix, hulu, facebook and youtube ourselves until we turn blue (wait, that might just be the cold). In fact, I don’t think this Snowpocalypse story would have gotten to be such a hot topic without Rochelle Van Den Broek’s youtube videos, Kelley Weaverling’s uplifting shoveling mantras, and all the great facebook photos we compiled on this blog with the help of local Cordova friends.
We’re living in the future now! I’m at Cordova Wireless today. It’s not even noon and there have already been 3 national and international news organizations interviewing local residents over Skype in this office. All I can say is thank goodness for fiber (cable). TGIF.
Here’s a pretty sweet video I shot a few months ago when the barge came in to install the under-sea umbilical cord. The weather was much more pleasant then.
Cordova Telephone & Cordova Wireless have more on their youtube and facebook pages if you’re interested, along with more info on the technology that brought Cordova into the modern age and delivered all this wonderful Snowpocalypse footage to all of you!
Although a lot of you Lower-48ers have had this new-fangled “fast internet” for awhile now, we all feel pretty lucky to finally have a speedy and reliable source of information at our fingertips. In fact, most people don’t even know it’s in jeopardy. The fact is, the federal USF funding that helped bring this $12 million Fiber Cable endeavor to completion is currently in question by the FCC. For our sake, I hope the FCC continues to support rural telecommunications because, especially in emergency situations like we’ve had lately, it’s a necessity for the public safety of our community… and for facebooking too, of course.