Yep, that was a big storm, and it did a lot of damage. It was not the direct hit of a summer hurricane that will eventually strike us, but it was clearly a wakeup call. For many of us, it was the only call we received for a few days because one of the big casualties of this storm is the complacency many of us share about the resilience of our communication network. The next person you introduce me to who’s cellular and internet connections were unaffected by the storm will be the first such person I have met.

Most of the Cape was without internet connection and every person I have spoken to (now that systems are repaired) suffered through limited or no cell service for days after the storm. I don’t know about you, but being unable to connect with the outside world, not to see who posted what on Instagram or some such site, but to be able to check on loved ones or friends, to call for assistance or to simply know what the next few days was going to bring was alarming and cause for concern. How many of us rely solely on cell phones and have no land line? How many of us get all our news through streaming or internet-based radio and have no physical radio in the house (or at least one you could find)? If you were in that category, and I am, it was a bad place to be and one that has me rethinking how better to prepare for the next storm.

So sure, get the wires back up so people have power and communications restored, but this region needs to rethink hanging critical systems underneath trees and come up with a better solution that protects us far into the stormy future ahead. The time to invest in utility services that can continue to provide service when they are most needed has long since passed. We are behind and need to catch up.