Reprinted with permission from the Allenspark Wind, December 2023 Vol. 50, No. 11, June 2024 Vol. 51, No. 5, by Edward Yagi

As Allenspark’s snowbirds return to our area and the annual rituals of opening up cabins, repairing snow and wind damage, and checking up with friends and neighbors are in full swing, a new item should be on everyone’s checklist this year: keeping abreast of the Trailblazer internet rollout.

In order to be good consumers, it is incumbent on all of us to do our homework and understand the terminology. It is with this in mind that the Wind has compiled this handy list of high-speed internet terms.

Broadband: In the distant past this referred to music groups like the the Bangles, the Go-Go’s, and Bananarama. Now it refers to high-speed data access, and by “high” we mean really high:10 gigabits per second (10 Gbps), which is 100 times faster than DSL – and 178,571 times faster than the old dial-up you used when the internet first came out.

DSL: An increasingly obsolete form of internet connection that uses existing telephone lines. Dial-up simply hijacked voice bandwidth and replaced it with data (which was why you couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time in 1994). DSL uses “black box” software and equipment that separates voice from data on the same line at different frequencies. We told you this before.

ONT: OK this is new one. An Optical Network Terminal is the device in your home that converts optical signals from the FOC into the electrical signals used by your computers, phones, WiFi routers, etc. You can think of it as a fancy, advanced modem but you won’t be very “with it” if you do.

FOC: Fiber optic cable. C’mon, you should all know this by now.

EPP&C: Estes Park Power & Communications. Trailblazer is an ISP (internet service provider) that operates within EPP&C. Abbreviated to just “P&C” by cool people. The only people up here who have and are bringing you FOC.

UPS: This could either be the folks who deliver pack-ages to your doorstop or Uninterruptable Power Supply. In the latter case, a UPS is a kind of fancy battery that you install between the electrical outlet and the device you want to power or protect. A UPS can provide voltage regulation, surge protection, and backup power from anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. This last part is important because you might suffer from a….

PSD: This is as bad as it sounds: Power Supply Disruption. Basically, a blackout, due to either equipment failure, an accident, or probably the most common in Allenspark, weather factors such as high winds or heavy snow. But if you were an Xcel customer a few weeks ago, you probably got it with a…..

PSPS: Public Safety Power Shutoff. This is where a utility intentionally shuts off electricity to prevent power lines from sparking fires in potentially dangerous conditions. According to Estes Park Director of Utilities Reuben “” Bergsten, EPP&C is reluctant to do a PSPS, since this tends to mess up your morning, afternoon, or evening. But since anything is better than a Maui or a Marshall (fire), it will always be a possibility.

BTW, Trailblazer has its own internal emergency pow-er sources. This means that even if the electrical grid goes down, assuming you have EPP&C Trailblazer FOC and a UPS hooked up to your ONT, even with a PSD or PSPS you should still have internet connectivity long enough to at least access EMER INFO.

Just FYI. M.O.N.E.Y.: In 21st century Colorado, a series of zeros and ones in electronic financial ledgers that greatly deter-mines in what month, probably this year, Trailblazer service will reach our homes in Allenspark.

Vault covers & non-service impacting lines: Forget it. You don’t need to know.

Shock: A powerful but not-unpleasant emotion of surprise such as that felt by “Sean E” when Trailblazer hiked 1/8 of a mile through three feet of snow to do an installation at their home on March 15. If that date rings a bell, it was the day after Snowmageddon 2024. A “great bunch of dudes,” according to Sean, spent most of the day shoveling in order to do the installation. The dudettes, presumably, had the day off.

So unless you really enjoy having your internet crash frequently or waiting five minutes for your cat videos to download, you should have Trailblazer’s phone number on speed-dial and start making tentative preparations now, especially if you’re not a year-rounder, to get hooked up as soon as the service is available at your location.

And one more btw, Estes Park just had a new Town Board and new Mayor sworn in recently. Maybe they can help Trailblazer complete its roll-out by finding some M.O.N.E.Y.

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