Springtime in the Rockies is always full of surprises, which recently included a system-wide power outage for the Estes Park Power and Communications service area during the evening of March 30th. Estes Park Power and Communications line workers worked to restore power quickly and safely in less than three hours. During the outage, a number of questions came into Trailblazer Broadband’s 24-hour customer service line about the impact of a power outage on broadband service, and the Trailblazer team thought it was important to share the answers to those questions publicly.
First, in the event of a power outage such as the one on March 30th, Trailblazer Broadband internet service is available and accessible, thanks to backup resources that power the broadband network combined with redundant fiber paths out of Estes Park. If one fiber path is compromised, another one is instantly and automatically used to reroute internet traffic. If an outage is caused by fiber damage rather than a power interruption, the internet connection may be lost until a repair can be made. In that case, Trailblazer clients can go to www.trailblazerbroadband.com and click on “Status” for updates.
The second part of the connectivity answer depends on the internal workings of your home or office. Assuming your home is still connected to the internet, the next link is your Trailblazer Nokia Gateway modem/router which requires power to operate the same way your TV, monitors, and gaming devices do.
Of course, anything with a charged battery will work – a computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. For that reason, anyone who depends on the internet for work or school may want to consider investing in an Uninterruptible Power Supply, commonly called a UPS. Basically, a “battery in a box,” a UPS is a backup power supply for your Gateway and other essential devices, which can provide power for periods of time ranging from minutes to hours during a power outage.
If your Gateway has power from a UPS and the batteries are charged on your other devices, those devices can connect to the internet via WiFi or a hard-wired connection during a power outage. Many UPS products have multiple outlets and/or USB ports, much like a power strip, so you can power other essential devices as well as your Gateway modem/router as needed. Costs and capabilities of UPS backups range greatly across a variety of potential purchase options.
For home use, a UPS can keep you from losing your work or forcing a hard shutdown due to a sudden power outage. If the power is out longer than the battery life of the UPS, you have time to properly save your work and shut down your device. It is also necessary to have battery backup if you use a computer-based or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone. Some UPS units protect your equipment from power surges, often absorbing any voltage irregularities without you even realizing it.
When considering a UPS purchase, first determine which devices besides your modem that you may want to power during an outage, keeping in mind that some devices such as TVs take a great deal of power and will drain your UPS more quickly. Some devices may already have battery backups of their own. For example, Medical Device Uninterruptible Power Supply Systems (Medical Device UPS Systems) are designed to provide uninterrupted power precisely for your particular medical device. Most home security systems are programmed to switch to backup battery power during a power outage. In both of those examples, it is important to double-check your system’s unique requirements.
Beyond purchasing a UPS, you may consider other long-term back options such as generators, cellular hotspots (assuming that the cell towers are operational), and heavier-use UPS units for businesses. To be prepared, assess your own situation and what is critical to you, your family and your business in the event of a future outage. As with fire and other weather dangers, it is advisable to have an emergency contingency plan for your technology as well!
Trailblazer Broadband is municipally owned and is Estes Park’s only locally supported high-speed broadband service provided over fiber optic lines. The Town of Estes Park provides information only and does not endorse any of the listed companies, the views they express or the products/services they offer. For more information about internet service, contact Trailblazer Broadband at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970)577-3770. More Trailblazer news is available at www.trailblazerbroadband.com and https://www.facebook.com/TrailblazerBroadband/Back to Blog