Monday, November 8, 2021

The Joy of Rural Internet

Despite what you might have heard, life in the countryside isn't all glitz and glamour(1).  There are some down sides that aren't spoken of at art galleries, ballet recitals, and costume balls. 

Chief among these, I have currently decided, is the internet.

For those living in the countryside's many quaint towns and villages(2), they have all the bandwidth they could want.  Too many gigabits to count; a veritable firehose of streaming, shopping, and pictures of cats.

But for those living in the no-man's-land between towns, the blasted hellscape of the side road(3), things couldn't be more different.  Corroded copper wires dangle between teetering poles, and only a few paltry megabits seep through the ancient circuits.

The legacy phone company, who have been here since the Sun was formed(4), boast of speeds up to 5 Mbps.  When 1.6 Mbps manages to leak out the end, they've done their part, and the rural dwellers pay handsomely for the privilege. 

So when the phone company happened to let slip that a new service was available, you can imagine our excitement.  Using a network of towers dotted across the countryside (like cell-phone towers, apparently, and yet different), speeds up to a dizzying 25 Mbps were promised.  

Installation went ahead, and we were amazed at the speed of this new... oh, wait, it stopped working.  Okay, it's back up.  No, it's down again.(5) 

Apparently, the towers 'dotted across the countryside' were in fact all built in a straight line on our road, and the antenna they installed here at the Compound could see half a dozen of them at the same time.  As it was explained to me, the towers were arguing over which one was going to connect to us, and as a result the connection was up and down like a toilet seat(6).  No matter, they said, they'll fix it.

After a week of fruitless attempts to fix it, everyone gave up and we asked to be moved back to the previous 1.6 Mbps service that at least managed to stay up.  This was easily taken care of, and only took two weeks of daily phone calls, technician visits where no one showed up, more phone calls, confused admissions that "we're not sure why it's not working" and assurances that "it's fixed in the system" and that everything would be fine by morning(7).  Which it wasn't.

Which is all a long way of saying that I didn't have an internet connection for the second half of October, and I'm really behind on responding to email.

In other news, I've just finished the second draft of the next book.  New characters, new locations, new story, same universe.  Because I think even one universe provides plenty of room for stuff.