Published at 12:37AM on the 18th of March, 2013 | Author: Timothy Harding

No Phone No Phone

I just want to be alone today... Wait a second, that isn't right at all. Just the opposite really. I long for my iPhone or even my old Samsung... I don't know when I became such a snob, but is it too much to ask that a phone work? I have somehow destroyed three phones since coming to Vanuatu, and I am well into phone number four and five. And now even one of those has stopped working. This time, however, it isn't the phone's fault, it is the tower's.

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Someone on our friendly neighbor island of Emao has saw fit to burn down our TVL cellular tower. Running on a small solar array, batteries, and a generator backup, it provided TVL cellular phone service and WiMax to all of Northeast Efate (beamed back via microwave somewhere in Northwest Efate). I have never been that enthusiastic about the craftsmanship that went into this tower, as it was always shutting off if we had a single cloud in the sky, but I never thought it to be flammable...

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Coconut wireless (what we lovingly call the grapevine in Vanuatu) reports that the culprit was identified, easily, as he stole all the solar panels and batteries before he covered everything in oil and set the site ablaze. Solar panels don't really work locked in a closet, so I haven't a clue how he was going to hide them... The fugitive has been on the run for two weeks now and is hiding out on a neighboring island, but most of the hardware that wasn't burned was recovered. TVL has stated they will take 12 months or more to get the cell tower working again, so this means that: 1) My new TVL phone is useless... and I just got one that worked. 2) The internet service for all of Northeast Efate is now off, and will be until the tower is restored. This means both schools that I work at no longer have access, and as a consequence, neither do I.

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Note the Emergency Mode...

I am now using a super flaky "Internet Stick" from rival company Digicel. It is running on EDGE and barely gets a signal anywhere on campus so if I seem grumpy, it is because I just spent 20-30 minutes dancing around divining the bits from the ether just to get this posted.

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Anyway, I just thought you should know. Thanks for reading :)
Tags: Coconut Wireless, Digicel, Emao, Internet, Island Tech Support, TVL
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