Home > Internet, marijuana > Don’t fear the choppers

Don’t fear the choppers

[Press release]

Contractors for IP Networks’ Highway 36 broadband project are using helicopters as they work along the PG&E transmission lines in the area between Bridgeville and Ruth Lake. These line crews are aware that the presence of helicopters and ground crews in the vicinity of large marijuana grows may raise concerns, so they want the community to know that they are not interested in the grows and are just trying to do their job.

The IP Networks project will provide a second high-speed internet connection for our area by running 127 miles of fiber-optic cable along the PG&E easement between Highway 5 and Eureka. This will keep our area connected even if the existing line gets broken or interrupted as has happened many times in the past, most recently this past August. The project will also connect several un-served and under-served communities along the way including Wildwood, Mad River, Ruth and Bridgeville, delivering service to 527 rural households over a 218 square-mile area.

These helicopters and crews work for 3-Phase Line Construction, IP Networks’ primary contractor. As they work through the area, residents should expect to see helicopters pulling cables and dropping off line crews, along with trucks and ground crews accessing the PG&E easement. 3-Phase crews hope to complete their work in this area by October 2nd. Until then, their crews will be working from 7am to 7pm, Monday through Friday, and occasionally on Saturdays.

  1. Anonymous
    September 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Another boondoggle subsidized by a majority of citizens who increasingly cannot afford the hardware to enjoy it, and that is so easily and instantly disrupted by either private or government self-interest.

  2. Dickband
    September 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Really?
    Is it becasue the price per pound is the lowest ever or are these “majority” figures something you pulled out of your ass?

  3. Hum+
    September 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Aah! The nay-sayers appear right out of the gate! Is there nothing positive to be had here in Humboldt?

    Any sign of progress, any attempt to better the status quo, is immediately suspect – “The Man” is surely out to get us all! I am weary of those who complain, who do not do, react with knee-jerk reaction, straw-man arguments, and insular, indolent, responses.

    Boondoggle or Bogeyman? How about a real debate?!

    By the way, I really like “The Humboldt Herald” and Heraldo. It tickles me to know that there is a blog like this. When it is really good the HH challenges my assumptions and critical thinking abilities. But how I long to see something from the readers more than, “I would have done it this way and you should agree with me because I said so.”

    “Because I said so” is not a really good answer to the questions that we face everyday, not even close.

    So boys and girls, why don’t we put on our thinking caps and proceed?

  4. 69er
    September 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    It is nice to see something on the positive side here, I welcome the progress being made.

  5. Trottel
    September 25, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Another boondoggle subsidized by a majority of citizens who increasingly cannot afford the hardware to enjoy it, and that is so easily and instantly disrupted by either private or government self-interest.

    Really? Because this will be a line serving everyone who currently uses cable or DSL Internet in the county, not to mention provide reliability to valuable services of major organizations such as our area clinics and hospitals. It’s only something many nonprofits have been calling for, and working for, for more than a decade. Your ignorance is astounding.

  6. Bolithio
    September 25, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    I really hope that this may open up another ISP to our area. Id love to ditch suddenlink.

  7. Dickband
    September 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    You can ditch sud unlink tomorrow by calling at&t. If you want an even shittier connection…by a company that gives your data to those chopper types.

  8. 06em
    September 25, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Web sites are all on.
    Here, and then they’re gone.
    Growers, don’t fear the choppers,
    Don’t fear the wind, the sun or the rain.
    You can make the harvest.
    Come on growers,
    Don’t fear the choppers.
    Growers mellow out.
    Don’t fear the choppers,
    You can always split.
    Don’t fear the choppers.
    They are not The Man.

  9. Lol whinera
    September 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    So u whine because you will be getting a second Internet line. Hwy 299 still has no Internet nor cell phone service. Whaaaa

  10. TunginChic
    September 25, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Yes, please whatever you do, don’t worry the growers.

  11. Anonymous
    September 26, 2011 at 6:13 am

    It’s prudent to warn criminals bearing firearms. They try to put on a cheery face, but when you get down to it, growers are responsible for the people who go missing in the hills. Basically, don’t go hiking outside a state park, and then, only go on well-used marked trails, otherwise you might run into one of these, hmm, I guess the polite word would be “brutes.”

  12. Anonymous
    September 26, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Why would anyone fear a helicopter?

  13. Freud
    September 26, 2011 at 7:47 am

    “Any sign of progress, any attempt to better the status quo, is immediately suspect – “The Man” is surely out to get us all! I am weary of those who complain, who do not do, react with knee-jerk reaction, straw-man arguments, and insular, indolent, responses.”

    Old saying, just because you are a crazy paranoid, doesn’t mean that the Man isn’t out to get you.

  14. Groan
    September 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Exactly my thought, TunginChic. Let’s all pity those poor, nervous growers.

  15. September 26, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Why would anyone fear a helicopter?

    You shouldn’t, except for the black ones.

  16. skippy
    September 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    The Role of Redundant Fiber: How We Got Here With Some Help by Mark Lovelace, Gregg Foster, Security National, and Others

    (Broken into two posts, this is a bit long for some readers– please skip ahead as you wish)

    Bringing a second fiber optic cable to Humboldt has been a lumbering effort of progress by many.

    MULTIPLE breaks in our fiber optic cable over the past several years– and the recent mudslide in southern Humboldt– underscore how remote and wild of an area we live in and how precarious our internet connection is to the outside world. In early 2010 a meeting was held with Mark Lovelace and arch-conservative Rob Arkley that included PG&E, Suddenlink and IPNetworks about bringing a second fiber optic cable connection to Humboldt out of necessity. The meeting didn’t result in an immediate coalition as some hoped and it reportedly nearly collapsed with “splintered ideas and partisanship from both sides.

    HUMBOLDT County has relied upon one fiber optic cable running along Highway 101. With only one cable, outages are a threat,” said Gregg Foster, Redwood Region Economic Development Commission executive director. “Outages don’t just keep local residents from accessing the web, but also shut down credit card transactions, certain navigation equipment, cell phones and ATMs.

    FOSTER said it was a “Hail Mary pass” when he approached Pacific Gas and Electric while he worked at Lost Coast Communications to use the utility company’s right of way to lay a fiber optic cable. To his surprise, PG&E was responsive and had IP Networks head the project. “Humboldt County and other entities have been involved in funding studies and forums for the project,” Foster said. “It’s about economic development– this line will be the infrastructure of the future and it’s been quite the community effort. It was sort of started by a few of us beating the drum.

    HELPING spearhead this second fiber cable as a “priority project”, Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Lovelace emphasized to the California Public Utilities Commission and the Six Rivers and Shasta-Trinity National Forest. that, “This project provides absolutely critical infrastructure that covers every aspect of our lives … as critical as water, sewer, and roads. The current lack of reliable broadband infrastructure puts our communities at a severe economic disadvantage. We encourage the cooperation and assistance of any and all agencies that may have a role in the implementation of this project, so as to ensure its timely completion.

    WITH the plan for redundant cable in place, funding secured, and given the green light for completion, a grant from the California Public Utilities Commission’s California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) will pay up to 40 percent of the cost of the project. While the initial CASF grant was $4.2 million, the cost of installing the 121 mile fiber optic line has risen from the original estimate of $10.5 million to nearly $15 million. So far, no date has been set for consideration of the awarding of an additional $1.7 million in CASF grants– nor is it clear how the project’s $9.1 million project deficit will be funded.

    THE FIBER line will be “mounted 100 percent on PG&E utility poles” helping to minimize environmental impacts along the highway 36 corridor. Humboldt County-based 101Netlink will provide high speed Internet and phone services from the new fiber line to customers. AT&T, Suddenlink, Verizon, and other companies would also have access to the fiber providing service to the rural communities along the way.
    THE LACK of a redundant fiber connection– and future outages– would have severe impacts for Humboldt County’s economy. A report sponsored by the Redwood Coast Rural Action agency, Technology Consortium, and the Economic Development Commission citing key sector organizations, summarized our vulnerabilities:

    As reported by news media, the fiber-optic communication outages caused Humboldt County businesses, agencies and residents to lose most or all of their Internet, long-distance and wireless telecom services. Retail transactions slowed or stopped as credit and debit cards could not be processed, and businesses and agencies experienced varying levels of other delays and interruptions…Humboldt County will suffer grave economic and social consequences going forward if the regional telecom infrastructure is not soon upgraded to include redundant fiber-optic connections to regional and global telecom networks.

    (…continued below…)

  17. Anonymous
    September 26, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I remember when Television was similarly portrayed as a new Renaissance of enlightenment, and despite 50 years of potential, it remains a mind-numbing wasteland. Additional technology that further serves an unprecedented centralization of media and information will ultimately suffer the same fate.

    Our primitive and destructive instincts have not evolved with our technological cleverness. (Please don’t confuse “clever” with “intelligent”).

    Anyone who’s been door-to-door in Humboldt County, esp. Eureka, understands how few people own computers or have the time and interest to use them. Most locals don’t even vote!

    And yet, another subsidy is being wrenched from the pocketbooks of the poor to benefit the privileged…like the “public” universities, hospitals, infrastructure, and subdivisions funded by everyone, but increasingly enjoyed by the few that can afford the user-fees.

    When China had its race riots a few years ago they shut down the entire nation’s internet and cell phones in minutes.

    Last week, Yahoo decided to cut-off the e-mail service of those involved in organizing the current protests against Wall Street.

    We have possessed all we need to initiate sustainable communities all along.

  18. skippy
    September 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    The Role of Redundant Fiber: How We Got Here– With Some Help by Mark Lovelace, Gregg Foster, Security National, and Others, continued:

    ST. JOSEPH HOSPITAL (including Redwood Memorial and General Hospital campuses) experienced the loss of many vital services including Internet access, storing and receiving medical imagery, and the ability to make phone calls or speak to medical experts during Humboldt’s outages. The St. Joseph Health System has since installed redundant local servers, storage, and alternate communication devices costing $25,000. “All other St. Joseph’s 13 hospitals are located in regions with more secure telecom infrastructure. This is only place that is dependent on a single line. The interruptions we’ve had there are ones that we have not seen in other markets,Scott Cebula, Chief Technology Officer, noted.

    THE EUREKA SOCIAL SECURITY office was disconnected from its national databases with 24 employees unable to work. Future outages could shut down the office with 80 to 120 customers having to return later; Social Security checks could be delayed or lost. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office 911 emergency system experienced failures of its Automatic Location Information, and the HCSO couldn’t’ access state law enforcement data such as motor vehicle records and wanted-persons files. Fortunately, no wanted felons escaped. The Humboldt County Office of Education nearly lost the ability delivering its $10 million payroll– before using an employee’s private DSL service to transmit the data. StreamGuys, a fast-growing provider of streaming audio and video services, threatened moving their company out of Humboldt County if only one fiber optic line remained in place.

    b>THE ARCATA/EUREKA AIRPORT and its airlines lost Internet and Intranet connectivity, both local and long distance phone services, and the connection between the airport’s weather monitoring equipment and the Oakland and Seattle facilities communicating weather data to pilots. Sun Valley Floral Farms lost Internet connectivity and the ability to process electronic transactions. During peak periods the firm could lose $1 million per day in revenue. Eureka’s Bayshore Mall, collectively employing 1,200 people, experienced a loss of capacity to process credit, debit and gift cards for purchases during outages. Wireless telecom service provider Edge Wireless lost 80% of its capacity— and subscriber’s cell phones didn’t work. Humboldt Merchant Services lost $20,000 in production and significant confidence. “We are an entity that handles customer and merchant funds, and for us not to have Internet access even for a short time is very serious,” said President Ken Musante. “Merchant customers do not understand when you tell them that Internet to the entire county is down. In the world we work in, your Internet access is like your phone dial tone.

    A REAL ESTATE finance and development company headquartered in Eureka, Security National depends heavily on telecommunications to conduct its business, operating from offices in six U.S. states and Portugal. During past fiber outages, the Eureka headquarters lost all Internet access— including the company’s private network backbone — and all voice communications outside the local community. The result was a sharp loss of productivity for Security National’s then160 local employees and its 440 employees in other locations, as well as critical gaps in communication with the company’s borrowers, tenants, subcontractors and vendors worldwide.

    THIS short-term loss, however, was relatively minor compared to “the potential impacts that Security National will likely experience going forward– unless a redundant fiber connection is established to Humboldt County.” According to Security National Network Engineer Mark Hodgson, the company has “delayed immediate plans to add 40 employees to its Eureka headquarters due to the insecurity of local telecom infrastructure. Future plans could see the company adding as many as 60 more additional jobs locally, but only with more secure telecom infrastructure.

    NOT ONLY does Security National require reliable 24/7 telecom services to operate effectively, the company may face issues with the Federal Trade Commission over the availability of its data with the fragile communications network infrastructure in Humboldt County.

    THE 2002 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) requires financial institutions to improve the security of sensitive financial and personal information. According to Justin Balog, Net Operations Manager, Security National has been upgrading the security and efficiency of its IT networks accordingly, but past outages raised questions with Security National’s IT department, in conjunction with internal and external IT auditors, about the availability of information. Being at risk for its GLBA obligations may also affect Security National’s credit ratings, leading to potential increases in borrowing costs in the millions of dollars.

    If we cannot show an efficient way to fail-over our operations so the business impact is minimal, that would have an impact on our ratings,” said Balog.”

    SECURITY NATIONAL has investigated satellite backup systems but determined that such systems would impose unacceptable delays for voice-over IP and Internet services. “For example, if you’re running a web based application and the normal response time is 15 to 20 seconds per transaction, using the satellite link that goes up to two-and-a-half or three minutes per transaction,” said engineer Hodgson.

    DUE to the efforts of many, a redundant fiber-optic connection has become a reality. Businesses, customers, and wired-in individuals can thank Mark Lovelace, Gregg Foster, and yes–Security National— as well as others for bringing Humboldt into the 21st Century and beyond the Redwood Curtain. Similar efforts by the Yurok and Karuk tribes recently have brought fiber optic cable and broadband service from Crescent City to Weitchpec, and Orleans to Yreka, as well.

    (Mary Bullwinkel/Humboldt Beacon, Allison Edrington and Donna Tam/Times-Standard, Jonathan Speaker, and the 2007 report, “Blackout” written by Jim Hight and sponsored by the Redwood Coast Rural Action Agency et. al., contributed sources for this report)

  19. Anonymous
    September 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Makes you wonder how “civilization” ever got this far.

    Despite local hospital’s tech. woes, American’s would be better off with a 16th Century doctor setting a broken arm than going through St. Joseph and into debt for years. Many serious conditions are better served in Santa Rosa and Redding.

    Few of the other problems listed above have made much news in local media.

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