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Recent interruptions in telephone and Internet service at home have re-emphasized how dependent we have become on communications technology.

During the past couple weeks, phone and Internet service to my home have been spotty or unavailable. Early symptoms included slow access and occasionally a Web site would not open or we would need to re-establish the wireless connection.

This past week, however, the home phone line went dead and wireless Internet was unavailable (though cable television still worked). In the initial service call (by cell phone), we were told that much of our neighborhood was affected and by the next morning, service had been restored. But the next afternoon, we were again experiencing interruptions in services.

The second call to the service provider resulted in a technician coming to the house Saturday morning to determine what might be causing the problem. Three and a half hours later, after much testing of connections and some rerouting of cable, service was mostly restored (at least for today and the immediate future, we presume).

From personal and business standpoints, what might happen if you lost either telephone service or Internet access, or both? At home, loss of either is initially an inconvenience, but can result in potential financial loss or safety risks. Likewise, and to a greater extent for businesses, loss of either can be costly.

Consider the banking industry, for example, or any financial service. Imagine how much of their business is dependent on exchanging information electronically – from ATMs to debit cards used for point of service purchases to online banking, etc. Now think of most any pulp mill or paper company. What happens to production or fulfillment if any of the computer systems or communications lines are not working properly?

Admittedly, we have benefited from advances in electronic communications, while also becoming reliant on new technology. It has become so much a part of our lives that we often take it for granted. As individuals, that might be okay; not so for businesses. The more reliant you are on certain technologies, the greater the need to safeguard them and establish contingencies for loss of service.


A Consultant Connection Member at your service: HurterConsult Inc. - Consulting Engineers for Pulp, Paper, Fiberboard & Cellulosic Biofuels from Nonwood Fibers, Wood, Wastepaper & Purchased Pulp | Resource, Market & Feasibility Studies, Engineering Solutions & Technical Advisory Services | Bob Hurter (613) 749-2181


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