Contributed by the_highwayman
Not all POPs are what the PR folks make them out to be.
A while back my company was integrating some acquired assets, and as part of the process I was assigned to turn down a circuit and recover the router and all equipment at a "MAJOR" POP site for the acquired network. This particular circuit was located in a very rural portion of Missouri.
I wasn't located in Missouri, so I was working with a regional field tech from Kansas City. He called and told me that he could not find the collocation building. After further investigation, it seemed that SBC did not even have a Central Office in the town. The local carrier was Sprint (now Embarq I suppose), and the acquired company was not collocated with them either in the very, very small Central Office they did have. This was a small town, there just weren't that many places it could be, so where was this major POP?
Confused, I asked him if he had actually driven to the address we gave him. He said "Hell yeah buddy, but the only dang thing at that address is a Tastee Freez and they do not open 'til 10am!"
I told him to go back to the location and make another call while I tried to figure out what to try next. Shortly thereafter though, the tech called back. Struggling to keep a straight face, he told me that the owner of the Tastee Freez had arrived and led him into the back of the building where the tech discovered the router, dialup gear and DS1 collocation.
All the gear was neatly racked right next to the walk-in freezer!!!!
He asked the owner what this was about, and the story finally unfolded. It turns out the owner of this Tastee Freez was also on the city council there and was the one who was able to get the original company to commit to getting the townspeople & school internet service. Sprint would have charged the town too much to build the modem banks etc. But the company needed colo space, so the guy let them put the rack right into his Tastee Freez.
My tech called later and said he had one of the best lunches in his life - a double bacon cheeseburger, onion rings and black walnut malts - on the house from the owner of that major POP! 🙂
I later spoke to some NOC techs who told me when the site would go down and if the tastee freez was open they would call up and some fry cook would reboot the router, switch, or whatever to restore service. Remote hands service, Missouri style I guess. Priceless!
Tales from the Field will hopefully be a recurring segment on this blog, offering a voice to the folks who install the gear, flip the switches, and do all the real work holding the internet together that we don't hear about in the press. Do you have a story from the field to share? Send it along!
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