My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Alternative Energy - A Telecom Provider's Strong Tower

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Alternative Energy - A Telecom Provider's Strong Tower

{10:14} Wise [men] lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish [is] near destruction.
{10:15} The rich man’s wealth [is] his strong city:  the destruction of the poor [is] their poverty.

Ecclesiastes 10 vs 14 and 15

The Big News of the week of May 2nd 2010 that will be forever etched in history: Telecom Provider AT&T has ended their experiment with “all-you-can-eat” Data Plans and has opted for capped Data Plans instead.

As mentioned in my blog article entitled “CLARO and ETF: Pro-Rated Dutch Auction is Preferred” and “CLARO and Telecoms Providers: FCC taking action on Overcharging”, a Mr. Bob St. Germain, was overcharged to the tune of eighteen Thousand dollars (US$18,000) for his mobile phone and modem usage over a six (6) week period in 2006.

Telecom Provider Verizon eventually forgave in 2010AD after he appeared on YouTube several times as stated in the article “Verizon forgives Dover man's US$18,000 cellphone bill”, published May 17, 2010 01:15 PM by the Boston Globe.

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) as stated in the article FCC says consumers are 'bill shocked'”, published May 26, 2010 9:41 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon CNET News - Signal Strength forced implementation by the Big Four (4) Telecom Providers in the United States of America of SMS (Short Messaging Service) to alert people just as they are about to exceed:

1.      Minutes (On-Net, Cross Network, International)
2.      SMS (On-Net, Cross Network, International) on their Voice Plans
3.      Modem Megabytes Data Caps on their Data Plans.

Simplification of its Voice and Data Plans would be good.

Telecom Provider AT&T has responded with what in the Telecoms World and the IT World on Wednesday 2nd 2010 was considered a major shift for a Telecoms Provider: capped, cheaper Data Plans.  

Telecom Provider AT&T’s Data Plans are as follows:

1.      DataPlus Data Plan which has a 200MB cap and charges US$15 per thirty (30) day billing cycle with an overage charge of US$10 per additional 200 MB
2.      DataPro Data Plan which has a 2GB cap and charges US$25 per thirty (30) day billing cycle with an overage charge of US$15 per additional 1GB

This as stated in the article as stated in my blog article entitled “AT&T and Capped Data Plans - Skype is no longer free”.

A response of the Telecom Providers further explained in my blog article entitled “CLARO and MNP - Happy Birthday and no more stones and snakes and pricing structures first mentioned my blog article entitled “Digicel EDGE Modem - Report on the Testrun for Digicel Broadband”.

Worth reading too are the summary article “AT&T's new pricing takes smart phones to the masses”, published June 3, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength and in the article “New AT&T Data Plans for iPhones, iPad, more”,  June 2, 2010 2:39 AM PDT CNET News - Crave by Matt Hickey from my favorite news aggregator, CNET News.

A dissection of the merits and demerits of Telecom Provider AT&T’s new Data Plans as stated in the video CNET Buzz Report aired Thursday May 3rd 2010 by Molly Wood, Executive Editor, CNET News.

The backlash has already begun, if the article “AT&T Sparks User Backlash With End to Unlimited Plan (Update1)”, published June 4 2010, by Hugo Miller and Olga Sharif, BloomBerg is to be believed.

But as in the case of the backlashes involving Google Buzz as stated in the article “Buzz Backfire: How Google pushed me to Facebook” published March 5, 2010 4:00 AM PST by Stephen Shankland, CNET News - Deep Tech.

Also Facebook experienced its fair share of privacy backlashes as stated in the article “FaceBook's follies: A brief history” published May 13, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Caroline McCarthy, CNET News - The Social.

This suggests that curiously enough, most people who have grown up with the Internet and are used to the informal nature of interaction on the Internet are a lot less concerned about their privacy, as stated by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the article “Why no one cares about privacy anymore”, published  March 12, 2010 4:00 AM PST by Declan McCullagh CNET News - Politics and Law which is a true statement.

Note: ONLY to people who grew up with the Internet from the early 80’s and 90’s and are used to its implied informal and anonymous nature and “know the ropes”. Telecom Provider AT&T’s backlash issues, like those involving Social Networking sites Google Buzz and Facebook will eventually blow over, albeit for a completely different reason: the new capped Data Plans.

A throwback to the horrible 90’s and capped minutes on Voice Plans works out cheaper for the customer, but a boon to customers wanting to wean themselves off their addiction to on-the-go-Internet…………but that is a topic for another article.

Already, there is word of Hulu potentially becoming a paid site, with charges of US$9.50 to watch older content, new content of course being still “pimped” on the ad-supported site to encourage people to watch the current television shows on CBS Network as stated in the article “Hulu to soon charge for content”, published June 9, 2010 9:53 AM PDT by Lance Whitney, CNET News - Digital Media.

Joining ranks with Skype as stated in the article “Skype for iPhone now support 3G, but free ride's ending”, published June 2 2010, by Ben Patterson, Yahoo! News, which is also charging for its usage of on Telecom Provider AT&T’s 3G Mobile Broadband Network.

No more free VoIP calls, a good move as it would also aid police in their fight against crime, preventing criminals from being able to organize their criminal activities, for free using VoIP

An implicit boon to Senator Dwight Nelson, Minister of National Security plan here in Jamaica in his fight to  introduce MRSI (Mandatory Registration of Subscriber Information) as stated in the article “CLARO Backs Cell Phone Tracking Plan; Digicel, LIME in Wait-And-See Mode”, published Sunday May 16, 2010 by Mark Titus, The Sunday Gleaner.

Senator Dwight Nelson, Minister of National Security made his intention clear some weeks ago to pursue the same Crime strategy as Mexico as there is an obvious link to criminals or “badmen” as laid out in my blog posting entitled “Mexico and MNP: A Solution to Crime in Mexico”.

Criminals who use Unregistered Mobile Phones, Phone Instruments (mobile, fixed line mobile, landline or wired /wireless modems) IMEI and SIM Cards (mobile, fixed line mobile, landline or wired /wireless modems) IMSI to organize crime as suggested in the Reuters report that as mentioned in the news report in the article “Mexico may shut down 25.9 million cell phones which haven't joined Registry”, published April 11, 2010 - 11:45pm by MacRonin, Privacy Digest.

An idea that the Government of the United States of America has caught on [MRSI] and has realized after the failed bombing plot in New York Time Square by alleged bomb plotter, Faisal Shahzad, is necessary to prevent crime and other terrorist acts as stated in the article “US lawmakers target pre-paid cell phone anonymity”, published Wednesday 26-05-2010, AFP, Yahoo! News

Thus the move to implement Hulu subscriptions might also be a means by which it can be supported on the Apple iPad, albeit the article does not say directly, as Hulu still has Adobe Flash issues, the same flash which had a security flaw, as now confirmed in the article “Adobe fixes 'critical' Flash flaw”, published Friday June 11 2010, BBC World News.

The Big Three (3) Telecom Providers in Jamaica will definitely be following suit, as VoIP is a major source of lost foreign exchange and is the bread and butter of Telecom Providers, a fact recognized in Egypt, as the National Telecom Regulatory Authority in Egypt has been proactive enough to implement to protect its state owned Telecoms Provider’s revenue base as stated in the article “Egypt bans international Internet voice calls”, published April 5th 2010, AFP, Yahoo! News.

The Big Three (3) Telecom Providers as well as the Big Four (4) Telecom Provider AT&T, Telecom Provider Sprint , Telecom Provider T-Mobile and Telecom Provider Verizon who are currently ramping up to launch their respective 4G Networks as stated in the article “On call: Welcome to 4G”, published March 9, 2010 11:01 AM PST by Kent German CNET News – Dialed In

However, they are faced with the fact that the soon up-and-coming faster 4G networks in the form of LTE (Long Term Evolution) and WiMaX 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16m) are becoming Power hungry systems, evident from the long period of time it takes to make profit from their 3G and 4G Data Networks.

Thus a push towards increased efficiency will be on the cards for late 2010 going on to 2012 as the electricity used by the Telecom Provider’s Switch (a fancy description for the server that handles Voice and Data call routing and Termination) Routers, called a MGW (Media Gate Way).

The Nodes in the Network, called Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel, accounts on average for about 60% of the Telecom Providers Energy Usage.

This usage can be reduced by first doing a Power audit of the Telecom Provider’s Network and then deciding on replacing inefficient equipment with new equipment which has a more efficient usage of Power and then Powering this equipment using Alternative Energy Sources.

As most Switch Equipment from the various Telecom Equipment Vendors is already in Cabinets, it is only a matter of adding Heat Extractor Fans or mini-air conditioning units in the case of the outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel. In the case of indoor Switch Equipment, which is already in a Cabinet, Heat Extractor Fans are required in the top of the Cabinets and at the bottom to constantly keeps air flowing.

The Switch Equipment inclusive of the MGW can be further enclosed in its entirety in a room fabricated from transparent plastic fiberglass with a soft seal door to allow the entry of personnel to conduct their work and lights placed at the edges to define its dimensions in case of a Power outage or when the lights are turned off at nights.

An energy efficient air conditioning unit can be attached to the transparent plastic fiberglass enclosure with extractor fans placed at the top of the transparent plastic fiberglass enclosure to extract waste heat, leaving the rest of the building without air conditioning.

It not necessary to have air conditioning in a building that is not necessarily occupied all the time and whose functions are controlled from a remote as is the case of Telecom Provider LIME, Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider CLARO, all of whom have such a remote controlled capabilities for their Switch Equipment in terms of their Microwave Radios (Ericsson for Telecom Provider Digicel and Telecom Provider LIME, Alcatel-Lucent for Telecom Provider Telecom Provider CLARO).

Additionally, Heat Extractor Fans can be placed at the top of the MSC (Mobile Switching Centers), Data Centers or the different types of Exchanges in the case of Telecom Provider LIME, to extract the heat, thus reducing the ambient temperature to room temperature, as the equipment would be cooled already in its own transparent plastic fiberglass enclosure.

Finally, to top it off, the air conditioning equipment and the Heat Extractor Fans, which of course would be chosen to be most efficient possible, would be then connected to a suitable Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine combination and Bloom Energy Servers as stated in the article “Bloom energy unveils fuel cell of the future”, published Thursday February 25, 9:01 am ET by Glenn Chapman, AFP, Yahoo! News.

Or search for “Bloom Energy Server” on YouTube to Power the air conditioning equipment, thus taking the Temperature Control Systems (which is what air conditioning is all about), off the grid, both for indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel, thus optimizing the equipment for the hot and humid environment of the tropics.

Eventually, with further audits, the indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel can also be powered by a suitable Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine combination as Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power with JPS Power as Tertiary Power Source.

Further improvements can thus be made to other aspects of Power consumption relating to the building itself as opposed to the equipment. Lighting can have automatic motion controlled switches to turn off lighting based on movement in the building by people so that the lights are only on when people are in the building moving about, ostensibly doing work.

The lighting systems itself should be switched to use natural lighting as much as possible, with fluorescent lighting or LED, whichever technology deliver higher luminosity coupled with lower cost and Energy Usage, a difficult task as choices abound as can be researched from the following articles:

1.      GE makes LED replacement for 40-watt bulb”, published April 8, 2010 5:41 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech
2.      Start-up developes snap-in LED light”, published March 24, 2010 8:17 AM PDT by Martin LaMonica, CNET News - Green Tech
3.      Are ESL bulbs better than CFL or LED?”, published September 16, 2009 8:00 AM PDT by Tim Hornyak, CNET News - Crave
4.      Solar Pebble could light the way for rural Africa”, published April 6, 2010 8:30 AM PDT, by Sharon Vaknin, CNET News - Crave

Lighting too, can then be taken of the grid and powered with the same Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine combination as Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power with JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd) Power as Tertiary Power Source.

The required increase in Power generating capacity from the Renewable Energy System to handle the additional load of lighting and electrical sockets in the indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel.

The Backup Power Systems could be based on the Bloom Energy Server, with the ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch) configured to use the Power from the Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine combination as Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power with JPS Power as Tertiary Power Source.

Power consumption and ambient temperature can be tracked by using a Network of Smart Meters and Smart Thermostats integrated into a so-called Smart Grid that wirelessly send information back to a central server using the EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) as described in the article “Smart Meter coming to a Utility near you”, published November 2, 2009 7:32 AM PST by Martin LaMonica CNET News - Green Tech.

This is a trend that is expected to increase in 2015AD a predicted in the article “Smart-grid spending to hit US$200 billion by 2015”, published December 28, 2009 7:15 AM PST by Lance Whitney CNET News - Green Tech.

These meters would be installed on the customer side after the JPS Co meter and would allow the Telecoms Provider to track Power usage in real time for their indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel and send them alarms whenever there are Power anomalies including increases in Power consumption and Power outages, albeit that may not occur, as the entire system is now off the grid.

If the Power generation capabilities of the Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine combination as Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power generates sufficient excess Power under a liberalizes Energy Sector in Jamaica can be resold to the Power Utility Company, which in this case is JPS Co, as stated in the article “Government, Opposition wrangle over energy”,  published Saturday April 3, 2010, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Support comes from Senator Phillip Paulwell, Opposition Spokesperson on Energy and ICT as stated in the article “Paulwell calls for number portability”, published, Wednesday April 21, 2010, Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Apparently Energy Sector Liberalization is going nowhere due to the failed arguments of Senator Phillip Paulwell, Opposition Spokesperson on Energy and ICT as stated in the article “'Follow my Blueprint' - Paulwell pushed for breakup of JPS Monopoly”, published Friday April 30 2010, Mark Titus, Business Reporter,  The Jamaica Gleaner.

But there is an interesting spin-off from such a massive migration of indoor Switch Equipment and MGW and outdoor Nodes for the Node B’s or BTS (Base Transceiver Stations) by Telecom Provider LIME and Telecom Provider CLARO, otherwise known as RBS (Remote Base Station) by Telecom Provider Digicel from Power from the Power Utility Company, which in this case is JPS Co

A Renewable Energy System, such as Solar Panels/Wind Turbine combination as Primary Power and Bloom Energy Servers as Secondary Power with JPS Power as Tertiary Power Source will significantly lower costs in terms of Power. Thus Telecom Provider could return to the days of providing “all-you-can-eat” uncapped Data Plans.


Alternative energy is the Telecom Provider “strong tower” and is an investment in the long run that benefits the Telecom Provider with stable clean and fully auditable power usage that reduces costs which can be easily passed on to the consumer………..and thus set the stage for the expansion into 5G Wireless Broadband Networks………….but that is a story for another article, as 5G is still in draft.
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