By Don Borders
December 23, 2009
I decided to drop the phone service with KPU for several reasons. The monthly cost for the telephone was far in excess of the lower 48 and other towns in Alaska. OK, I live here, so I pay the going price...for what is available.
When the fiber optic was being laid off shore, it was to become the new "Rail Road" for information Technologies progress in Alaska. The people who were in charge, of the construction and laying of the line, came to town and met with the KPU people and city management. They (KPU and city) decided not buy into the fiber line as they had an outdated and over loaded terrestrial microwave link to Canada which cost far less and had significantly less band with interrupted service available to the end users, however, it was cheap upstream access and that's all that counted with the managers.
It was poor planning and very poor foresight by KPU management to the developing edge technologies in the internet and voice over IP (VoIP). It was at this time that the cell phone companies were coming to town and cell providers were forced to subscribe to the only data path off the island, KPU's path, which offered less for a higher price than fiber optics prices. High cell phone prices AND high internet rates Poor planning and managements' behalf opened door for the competing business. So, in came the private internet providers via fiber optics which also opened internet bandwidth and opportunity to communicate via VoIP (telephone voice over Internet) for the consumers it was an given, it's cheaper in other places, Cost stimulated the users to change providers. Consumers can count beans also.
IF, KPU Utility was where business should have been, in technological upgrades and access for the end users the competition would not be here on the "Rock" and end results would be a win - win for both KPU and the end users. However, the management did not listen to the people working in the trade and the facts are management failed to stimulate needed changes and now they chose to obliterate jobs is appalling. As for laying off the telephone apprentice they should be one of the last to be laid off. Their pay or work done is the least expense in wages and the person still gets the opportunity to continue developing their skills. Again, poor management on the KPU and city managers side. Sounds to me like Union Busting tactics.
It's a given that Bean Counters are poor managers and even poorer in technological knowledge. But wiser managers are smart enough to listen and consult the trades' people on what is needed, it's only the stubborn and technological ignorant ones who refuse to listen to the people with the hands on skills and experience. After all, the trades' people are taking the effort and gain the knowledge to stay current with the advancing technological changes.
As for the KPU fiber being laid to the homes, it was years after private fiber company announced it was coming to town that the telephone management decided to lay fiber to the end users. Too late, the horse was already hitched up and on the road. If KPU management was to have kept the edge in technological advances and distributing bandwidth via the last mile to the end users. They should have planned years ago to jump on the first opportunity to get on the fiber optics backbone. But, it was cheaper to lease old outdated microwave links in place of spending a few bucks to upgrade to something newer which they eventually rolled out and that's the fiber to the homes. However, the private businesses looped around them and now provide more for less. Thus the losses in KPU and the management's decision to place the failing division up for sale because it's no longer the cash cow that it was. Too much stepping over the dollars to get to pick up the dimes.
One of the Trade sayings go: "We, called "the unknowing and unwilling," have done so much with so little we are now qualified to do the impossible with nothing." I feel sorry for the KPU trades people, they're in a tough position, and management is not making it any easier by hiring more managers. The end users are, if not already, going to pay the price for such unproductive positions.
About: Ketchikan Resident 24+years
Received December 22, 2009 - Published December 23, 2009
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