Possible Slow Updates Due to Loss of Internet Access

September 10th, 2013

Telecom NZ has been having problems on their mobile network for the last couple of days. As of now, they’re blaming it on the weather.

In any event, if updates slow down, you’ll know why.

On a happier note, there’s good news to report in terms of Internet access for us going forward. The long years of crappy, very overpriced Internet access are nearly over.

After years of trying to convince a company called Ubernet to build a wireless repeater out here, they finally agreed to do it… IF I could find a suitable (meaning high enough) property and convince the owner to host the tower.

I did it.

More delays, delays, delays. Finally, it was time to build the tower. This job pretty much required a helicopter to get the tower and associated materials up there, but Ubernet didn’t want to pay for it. The site is not accessible while the ground is wet by any vehicles. The plan was to wait until summer and then try to drive the stuff up to the site once the ground dries out.

My neighbors and I pressed Ubernet to come up with options to just get this thing done, outside of shelling out NZ$1500 for the helicopter.

Ubernet said that if we didn’t want to pay for the bird, or wait until summer, we could carry the gear up there on foot.

Oh sure! We decided to do that. How hard could it possibly be?

More weeks passed and the day of the trek finally arrived. Standing at the base of the climb, I had a very definite, “Oh shit,” moment. It was very steep and very far. Over tall hills were more and taller hills, through mud.

Some of my neighbors, an Ubernet contractor and I carried a 6 meter tall, galvanized steel tower up about 2KMs into these hills on our shoulders. Another neighbor managed to take four 25KG sacks of concrete about half way up on his quad.

I don’t know how heavy that tower was, but I wouldn’t agree to doing anything like that ever again. Internet or no Internet, that climb through the steep slop was effing ridiculous. If I had it to do over again, I’d definitely take the Wait-For-Summer-And-Let-Someone-Else-Get-Paid-To-Do-This option. Anyway, the pain and bruises are gone now.

As of last night, the tower was up, but without any electronics, solar panels or the battery. Apparently, the battery weighs 50KGs. I don’t know what the plan is for that, but it definitely won’t include me in a pack animal role. I know! Wait for the ground to dry out in summer! haha.

Bottom line: We could be as little as days to a couple of weeks away from that thing being operational. Or not. Even if it does take until summer, it’s finally going to happen.

In the meantime, Telecom NZ has red status lights across the board right now.

This one affects us:

Sep 11, 2013
Loss of Mobile Services

Due to heavy rain and strong winds throughout the country, some customers may be experiencing a loss of service and may be unable to make or receive calls from their mobile phones. Our technicians are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience.

3 Responses to “Possible Slow Updates Due to Loss of Internet Access”

  1. goritsas Says:

    Since you live in the countryside, surely there’d be a few horses or donkeys knocking about? 🙂

    Glad you survived. Far more effort than you’d imagined, eh? And you, coming from IT, where everything costs twice as much and takes four times as long (or the other way round, but you get my point), and never works as intended anyways!

  2. Kevin Says:

    There is someone with a draft horse about 10KMs away. Everyone else uses tractors, which couldn’t make the climb.

  3. goritsas Says:

    Ok, I see the problem. But then I thought, “What about sheep-sled teams?”. There can’t be a lack of sheep in your part of the world. Just imagine, sheep, harnessed together, like Husky dog-sled teams, pulling those there heavy loads up and up the mountain. Then after you get the cargo delivered, you’ve got the NZ equivalent of fast food. Lamb chops; leg of lamb; roast crown of lamb. Hell, you might not return for days, having eaten so much. I reckon you’d need about twenty sheep to get your tower to the top. Hope there’s enough firewood up there to eat twenty sheep. Yup, you’ll be a while gettin’ back. 🙂

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