Broadband Internet expansion in rural areas

Reliability of fiber

So in the last 10 days we have two full-day outages with Comcast. Here is my theory which is worth a story:

When Comcast put in all this fiber, they forgot about the fact that it takes 12-14 hours to patch a fiber break, where the old coaxial cable takes about 30 minutes. Patching fiber takes a special trailer with high temp fusion equipment and a clean room. You can’t patch fiber up on the pole, you have to take it down and run it into the trailer, patch in an extension and put it back up on the pole. Even if you locate the break quickly (the equipment exists) it is still a 10-14 hour job. If you have multiple breaks and one trailer, it could be days. This is a huge inconvenience to those of us that office at home and small businesses with their online systems.

Since there are now two outages in wind storms, the engineering of the fiber routing is not proving reliable. Also, a reliable network is designed with nodes, so taking out one node doesn’t take out half the city, like we have seen in the last 10 days.

Please call Comcast and rake them over the coals. I am not affiliated with any cable or telcom operation, I just want to access my files on the cloud without hanging out all day at Panera Bread.

Michael Lowery

Colorado Springs

Ingenuity to earn a living

Once upon a time, long, long ago, every trip to a gas station would involve a “squeegee worker.” While you sat comfortably inside your car, an attendant would fill your tank with gasoline, another attendant would check the air pressure in your tires, and another would “squeegee” your windshield — and maybe also your rear window — all at no cost other than what rolled up on the gas pump meter.

This was during the 1930s Depression, and gasoline was about 14 to 18 cents per gallon. It provided gainful employment for many families. And yes, a family could have lived off of government “handouts,” but you had to work for them (WPA, PWA, Civilian Conservation Corp, etc).

Let’s applaud the Baltimore squeegee workers [at intersections] for their ingenuity to earn a living this way.

J.E.Strub

Colorado Springs

Chaos in the House

Everyone should be concerned about the new House majority, which couldn’t even select a speaker without historic chaos.

The House of Representatives is now controlled by MAGA Republicans. According to the Washington Post, over 70% of House Republicans are election deniers, and they will use their power to enrich their corporate donors and advance their extreme agenda — including threatening our freedom to vote, criminalizing abortion and cutting Social Security and Medicaid.

Judging by how the election went to select Kevin McCarthy as the speaker of the House, we should be concerned about their ability to govern. They’ve shown their cards — in their first act, the MAGA House majority approved a rules package that gutted the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics.

That’s just the beginning. MAGA cronies like House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Steve Scalise and Marjorie Taylor Greene have indicated that their top priority in 2023 will be sham investigations into the Biden administration and other democracy defenders, including those charged with investigating the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

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We must call out their lies at every turn and combat their far-right agenda to protect our freedoms and our democracy in 2023.

Carol Myers

Colorado Springs

Under McCarthy’s new gavel

So, now that they finally drug Kevin McCarthy over the goal line by his hair, word is out that what the GOP likes to call “entitlements” are back on the table, or on the chopping block. Yep, folks, that means that once again they’re talking about cutting or outright killing our Social Security and Medicare benefits to “save money”. But logically, doesn’t it seem to make more sense to cut stuff like Donald Trump’s permanent tax cuts for the rich — instead? And I still can’t figure out how Social Security and Medicare are somehow deemed to be entitlements when we earned those benefits by paying into Social Security through our employment for our entire working lives.

What do they plan to do with all the grannies who will end up living in a cardboard box under every bridge in this nation? You can bet that if they try anything like that, I plan to join one of the thousands of battalions of wheelchair grannies motoring their way to D.C. to hunt down ‘McCarthy and The 20’ for tea and a little chat.

Those lawmakers get hefty salaries; plus paid health insurance; plus 239 days off per year; plus enough stock tips and connections to make many of them millionaires; and so many other perks. Everybody better start paying attention to what’s going on under McCarthy’s new gavel. Personally, I’m gonna bombard my congresspersons with “Don’t you dare!” calls and letters, and start praying for some common sense to prevail — ‘cuz I’m allergic to cardboard.

Maggie Mae Stone

Black Forest

How powerful a word can be

I just returned from a 33-day cruise around South America, along with approximately 2,400 other passengers and 1,000 crew members on the ship. Aside from the excitement a cruise provides, the inevitable minor setbacks ranged from strict COVID regulations to political insurrections along the way, such as the ones in Peru, which led to cancellation of excursions to Machu Picchu, for example.

The farther south in the Antarctic area, weather conditions mandated more excursion cancellations. Days before, another cruise line in the same area was hit by a rogue wave which took the life of one passenger and injured several.

Several times a day throughout the cruise, the overhead announcements ranged from galvanizing tones of voice from the activities director, to location and weather updates from the ship captain.

As weather deteriorated, with strong winds causing major turbulence throughout the ship, the tone of voice and words the captain chose to convey information were carefully expressed, as he explained the reason for changing the route, as needed, for the safety of all.

During those announcements, the momentary silence permeated across the entire ship. It was then when I realized how fear could have turned into panic, depending on the captain’s ability to convey vital information. This realization reminded me of how powerful a word can be, depending on how it is used; it can easily bring people together just as much as separate them.

Under the circumstances I describe above, facial expression for visual effect was not needed. It was the choice of words and tone of voice that really mattered. How often have we been hurt by others, or hurt others, even our loved ones inadvertently as a result of taking the power of the word for granted?

Marcela Gaumer

Colorado Springs

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