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When It Comes To Gobbling Up Bandwidth, You’re Cleaning Your Plate!

When we crossed into 2020, commZoom entered its sixth year of operation. In five years, we have now introduced high speed wireline internet service in 13 markets, many of which had nothing like the product which we install and activate each day.  Additionally, we are well into additional phases of growth within several of our operating markets with plant extensions and secondary upgrades to enhance and improve the infrastructure, add capacity and speed to our internet service.

Five years in this industry is a long time, especially from the perspective of changes to the way people use digital technology.  One benchmark, which all people in the digital world pay attention to is something called Moore’s Law, which basically says that the speed and capability of computers doubles every 18 months to two years. And there is another law called Neilsen’s Law of Internet Bandwidth that says that high end use of internet connection speed grows by 50% per year. These two statements really go hand in hand. There are more devices, more uses for devices, more devices that must connect to the internet and more demand for the “juice” that makes all this stuff work. High Speed Internet is a technology enabler. And these days, our lives are driven by technology.

commZoom has seen it for sure.  commZoom has increased the bandwidth through the “pipe” going into most of the towns we serve by 10 times from what we launched with in 2015 and 2016. And what we put in place when we started was at least 10 times more than what had ever been put in place in your towns by our predecessors or other providers before we got there.  If commZoom never put on another customer from today and just let usage grow organically, we’d still have to put in more capacity eventually because our existing customer base is just using more and more and adding more connected devices to their daily lives every day. The Internet of Things (IoT) IS a thing.  A while back in these blog posts, we proposed imagining what the state of things today is going to look like in 10 years.  Well, just think about 10 years ago.

We watch the progression every day and have thresholds we observe that tell us when to put in a bigger hose.  It’s science AND art as we watch how things go during peak usage time.  Glad you’re along. Let’s grow together as we up the stakes for economic development, education, healthcare and quality of life in commZoom Country.

Know Thine Enemy – What Happens When A Fiber is Cut?

Nobody likes an outage, least of all us.  Outages can be caused by any number of things (hey it’s electronics, except the squirrel chews).  Stuff does break.  If you follow us on Facebook or check the outage section, from time to time, you’ll hear us talk about a fiber cut.  What does that mean?  Fiber is a thread of glass through which light travels carrying internet bandwidth (the raw material you need to access the internet), that is much thinner than the lightest fishing line you own. A lot of those little tiny threads are bundled together into a little plastic tube the width of a plastic coffee stirrer or a cocktail straw then a bunch of those are wrapped into plastic casing around a half of an inch in diameter.  Miles and miles of these lines are either attached to utility poles or buried several feet underground in conduit, usually orange.

No doubt you’ve seen little locate flags along the side of the road sticking out of the ground. They’re all over.  The little flags have been placed there because someone is planning on digging in that area. Companies that have existing buried lines enjoying a quiet and peaceful existence in the good earth in those flagged areas are required to let the companies that are planning on doing underground work know that “hey we’re down here”. Public enemy number one is the construction crew that ignores the locate flags or just makes a mistake and “steers” a backhoe through the line severing the little threads of glass.

To repair it requires the owner of the line to use equipment that shoots a light beam through the miles of glass to identify the physical location of the break.  Then trucks and equipment are deployed to the site (Is it ever nearby? NO!), the site is excavated, and line is pulled up so that the technician can identify the teeny little broken thread or threads. The tech then uses another piece of gear to “splice” the good ends of the fiber back together by literally melting them together. It’s never just one broken thread either.  This process takes hours and it doesn’t happen indoors.  This writer once had a customer chewing deep into my backside claiming that surely a conspiracy existed and that there is no way that it could take six to eight hours or more to repair a fiber cut. Oh well, a person convinced against their will is unconvinced still.

These things happen. But in the case of commZoom and no other provider that we know of, when we know this has occurred, we post the matter on our website and on social media as fast as we can. Our zoomCrew on the phones are alerted as are our after-hours staffing.  On social media and our website’s service outage page, we’ll give a play-by-play on what we know to be happening with the repair in as close to real time as we can get. That way our customers can know what is going on.  We’ve found that eliminates some stress. We don’t often give an estimate on the time we expect for the problem to be solved because there are way too many things affecting that.  This process doesn’t solve the issue, but you should know that this is the best way to track the matter rather than trying to get an open phone line to call in when the phones are the busiest. As your writer is also the person who has written most of those outage update posts including from the side of the road at midnight in the rain or from a duck blind in Aransas Bay, it can be said with confidence that this is the most up to the minute info available to you and is an example of the “Main Street Merchant Quality” service that we strive to deliver every day.

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