We’ve been having really awful weather these past few weeks. Our internet has been down more than it’s been up (hence the recent dearth of posts). The situation is one that can exist nowadays only in a remote, under-serviced place with too small a population to influence any votes. Our internet service relies on batteries for power; the batteries that power the internet are solar powered and installed on top of a mountain. Bella Coola doesn’t get much sun at the best of times, and almost not at all during the winter. So, the recent sub-zero temperatures, raging winds and feet of snowfall mean the batteries are not recharging. Consequently, they have `powered out’ and taken our service with them. The solution? Install some wind generators–sounds reasonable, but in order to install them on the mountain, we need a helicopter. Luckily the valley has a helicopter company, but now that the lucrative heli-skiing season is upon us, the helicopters are busy and booked up. The community is in a holding pattern: wait for sun to recharge the batteries, wait for a break in the heli-skiing schedule so a chopper can be rented, wait for the weather to be decent enough to get the whole job done at once, high up on a mountain top, but if the weather is that good, the heli-skiers will want to ski so the choppers won’t be available… Catch-22.
It is not easy to live in a remote place with so few services available. There is no tax base here to speak of, so the service has been developed almost entirely by a not-for-profit society with volunteer labour. It is even less easy to keep something like internet service going (and its customer base happy) with such limited resources. Because of these difficulties, many people are deciding to source their service elsewhere (satellite, for instance) but the more people who pull out, the fewer resources are available to develop decent service… Catch-23.