Half way between the local shopping precinct and where I reside, there is the local district telecommunication exchange – sub station. Well, I think that’s what it’s called. It is a metal cylinder about one and a half metres tall which contains thousands of multi-coloured insulated copper wires.
I know because frequently, when I’m doing my daily walk to the coffee shop, I see an army of technicians working feverishly on a bundle of these wires. Not a pleasant job in the tropical sun, but a job that seems to occur all too often.
Telecommunication infrastructure in Sandakan is fully stretched. The fastest Internet connection that one can buy is a paltry 4 mbps and that is limited to only a few areas in town. We have just upgraded to 2 which is the highest possible in our street. They say 2 mbps but in reality if it crawls to 1.5 mbps we are ecstatic.
I shouldn’t complain really. Before the upgrade, the service would drop out 10 to 20 times a day. A technician investigated twice, 6 months apart. He assured us nothing was wrong with the phone line after inspecting the fore mentioned exchange. Miraculously the moment he left it’s been perfect ever since, well as perfect as it gets here. A little face saving I suspect. Anyway it’s much better than it was, although downloading anything of substance takes forever.
The problem lies in the infrastructure. It’s old. The very poles that originally held a single phone line now attempt to hold numerous cables. They are thin and made of cast iron. Note the accompanying photograph. The original pole has bent over at right angles due to rust and weight. At some stage a second pole was erected in an attempted to add support to prevent it from collapsing. As you can see, a further pole has been added to support the other two and not to forget the four guide wires to keep all three poles from falling down. Crazy you say? Sure is. Why not replace the original pole in the first place with something that can support all the weight.
Theirs is not to reason why…………