Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 1/1/2002It's 03:48 on the 1st of January. At last, the lightweights partying elsewhere in my mobile cell are turning in for the night.

Tuesday 1/1/2002

It's 03:48 on the 1st of January. At last, the lightweights partying elsewhere in my mobile cell are turning in for the night. At last, the mobile pauses for a moment when I press send, then another moment, and...

SENT. I have keys to press before I sleep, but at least there's still some Cava left. Joy!

Later that day, misery. A Withnail-class hangover collides gracelessly with London Transport's efforts to get me home, while the fact of the failed mobiles continues to niggle. Once, the telephone network was engineered to work under any circumstances short of nuclear attack. Nothing was dependent on mains electricity anywhere on the network: the whole country could go dark and you could still call Ethel in Bolton. Now, we expect failures: cordless phones come with a little sticker saying 'not to be used as sole phone' because they won't work in a power cut, but who reads stickers? The plethora of phone companies selling cut-price calls attracts a plethora of complaints about billing and misdirected numbers. Mobiles... well, I don't know many people who consider them reliable enough to use as their sole phone.

It doesn't seem a terrible price to pay for the enormous increase in choice, capability and value for money we've got from the system as it developed, but we are more vulnerable. It'll be worth keeping an eye on reliability and redundancy in the system as we roll out the next big upgrade: 3G and broadband fixed wireless services. These will have the potential to replace much of our existing infrastructure over time, but if too many corners are cut it might not just be the party people who get their toys taken away.

Home. Enter restorative coma.

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