Stick to the knitting

Posted by Voipfone on May 4, 2016

Stick to the knittingThis is a picture of a telephone pole in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam that I took whilst on holiday last month. There are thousands like it all over the city. The locals tell me that the telephone engineers can no longer trace faults in lines because – well, look at the picture – how could they? So instead of tracing back a fault and cutting out the dead wire, they drop another new one, loading the poles further and making matters worse.

They say that there are plans to lay new underground cables but no-one believes it, the cost would be enormous and Vietnam is not a rich country so it’s likely to carry on until the whole system collapses.

The local loop, or subscriber’s line, is the oldest, most expensive and highest maintenance part of the telephone network – its weakest point – and of course these days it’s also asked to carry fast broadband services. In the UK a lot of it’s underground so we don’t get the same problems that the Vietnamese have but we have our own issues. Much of it is 100 years old, jointed multiple times and the ducts they lie in often double as informal storm drains when we have floods. It’s a miracle it works at all.

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