RTC service had little interruption for many

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Editor and Publisher

RESERVE – Facing daily challenges in the wake of Hurricane Gustav was par for the course at Reserve Telecommunications Company (RTC), just as it was for most service companies.

But RTC President Bill Ironside said it was a tribute to his outstanding work force that helped the majority of RTC customers get back online sooner than even many of them knew it. And that was even if they ever went down at all.

“There was one call we got from a gentleman who wanted to know when he would get his Internet service back, and I tried to tell him that he might have never even lost it, and that he should go try it,” Ironside said. “Sure enough, the man got back on the phone and said it was working. He said he had assumed it was out since the power was still off.”

Ironside said that much of the RTC network never even went down from Gustav due to diesel generator backups for a lot of their network, while some of their network doesn’t need electric power to run.

Even where the outages occurred, he had a work force that reported to start repairs before even some of the management got back.

“We had some employees who came to their locations to work before we even came back,” he said. “It was really an amazing thing to see, especially that we had every employee except three report for work when we started back full time.”

For RTC customers, many discovered—as with Hurricane Katrina—that the network didn’t go down in many areas.

“The LaPlace phone and cable requires electric power to run, but much of our other areas don’t even need electricity, so a lot of people might expect to lose service, but they actually never did,” he explained.

By 9 a.m. on Tuesday, the day after Gustav hit, most Internet, phone and cable service was back up for RTC customers. The main areas that didn’t have power, were due to individual home areas that had trees fall on top of cable lines.

“The really amazing thing about this storm, as far as we were concerned, is that we did not have our main cable lines cut anywhere. But with Katrina, we had at least a half dozen cable lines cut that had to be repaired. So we really got incredibly lucky with this storm,” Ironside said.

Also after Katrina, Ironside ordered 70 generators bought and ready to be put in place all around the RTC network, that would keep things going in those areas that did need power to push a signal ahead. The majority of those can be seen sitting high atop a telephone pole, and that is another reason so much of the network stayed online.

“Our biggest problem was hustling around to keep gas in 70 generators,” Ironside remarked. “But we did it. The only reason some people lost service was because we might not have gotten to a generator in time to keep the gas in it. But those were only a few incidents.”

Also he said there was one generator needed at a spot in Garyville where the telephone pole was across a 10 foot deep ditch that was full of water, so his workers couldn’t get to it.

“In Katrina we had so many people surprised to have service so fast with us, and in fact, we had a lot of people sign up with us after the storm when they heard how well we handled this kind of thing,” Ironside added.

Anyone who may still be without any of their Internet, cable or phone service through RTC should call 536-1111, or 359-2222.