Communications & Power Infrastructure in Bonny Doon
Wednesday, August 5, 7:30 p.m.
Zoom Video Conference Meeting
The RBDA will be organizing a series of meetings over the next year to discuss the many critical issues surrounding the safety of our community. For the first meeting, we have assembled a panel of experts to discuss communications and electric power infrastructure issues.
Panel members will include:
Ryan Coonerty – County Supervisor, 3rd District
Rachel Dann – County Supervisor’s Analyst, 3rd District
Bettye Saxon – Central Coast External Affairs Regional Director, AT&T
Maureen McCarty – District Director for Assemblymember Mark Stone
Kate Beck – Public Utilities Regulatory Analyst, Public Advocates Office, California Public Utilities Commission
Jeana Arnold – Local Public Affairs, Central Coast Division, PG&E
Lennies M. Gutiérrez – Director of Government Affairs, South Bay and Southern Peninsula – Comcast California
The 2018 Camp Fire was a wakeup call for all Californians. A great deal has changed since Bonny Doon was last threatened by the Martin (2008) and Lockheed (2009) fires. At that time, Bonny Doon residents had copper wire phone service and received reverse 911 phone calls in time to evacuate. The copper wire infrastructure was reliable and robust. During winter storms it was not uncommon for the power to go out for days, but the phones still worked. Today many people have only mobile phones and/or internet based voice over internet protocol (VOIP) phone service. As a result, during winter storms, it is now common to be without internet services for days, even after power has been restored. In the past, a temporary loss of phone service was considered mostly an inconvenience. However, as traffic and the cost of housing has gotten worse, more people are choosing to live and work remotely (and the pandemic has required and accelerated this), so a service loss can have severe economic consequences. Furthermore, with PG&E’s Public Service Power Shutoff events, we are now contemplating a future where, during wildfire season, the only line of communication people have is vulnerable.
At our August public meeting we will discuss three main topics with an expert panel comprised of the different communications and power stakeholders, including internet service providers, traditional telecommunication providers, power utilities, and local government. First, how does the current communication infrastructure work—from our personal communication devices, to the network infrastructure outside our homes, to data centers operated by internet service providers and power utilities? Second, what can be done today to be better prepared as an individual, community, local government, and/or non-governmental stake holder? Third, what might the future of communication infrastructure in small rural communities look like, and what kind of infrastructure and technologies should we advocate?
Please join us for this important discussion on power and communication infrastructure. We need your input!