Communicating in Our High Tech World
Thursday December 28th 2006, 11:46 pm

We have been waiting for a phone call from our son, who lives in Bangkok, Thailand, as he was to telephone us on either Christmas Day or Boxing Day. We didn’t get a call so I emailed him today and he responded that there was an earthquake on Boxing Day off the coast of Taiwan which wiped out the internet and telephone connections in much of Southeast Asia. He advised that the internet is still up and down and it is difficult to make telephone connections from Asia. I hadn’t heard this news but I thought it was very eery because this quake occurred on the second anniversary of the earthquake which caused the tsunami in Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004.

I checked Google News and the 6.7 magnitude earthquake on December 26, 2006 ruptured six undersea cables that are part of the communications network which circles the globe. This was the biggest communications outage to hit Southeast Asia in years. It didn’t do any damage to property but millions of people were without the internet and telephone services in an age when these things are necessary to conduct any business. Several ships are sailing to the area to repair the cables but it may take several days to be completely fixed. In the meantime the telecommunication companies have rerouted their traffic through other routes but this is leading to reduced service in many countries.

We take our internet, email and telephone communication for granted in this high tech world and would find it difficult to do most things without it. When our son was visiting us in Canada earlier this year, he used Skype to communicate with friends in Thailand through the internet. This way of communicating will be increasing in the future as it is cheaper and better than using regular telephone communicating. I can’t even imagine the future in world communications in the next decade or so. Can you imagine the number of cell phones, Blackberrys and iPods under the tree this Christmas. Every year they become more advanced and the old technology becomes obsolete. I don’t need the internet for any business because I am retired, but I use it every day to do my banking, check my emails, check for books at the the library and many more things. I don’t even understand most of the technology but I know I wouldn’t want to be without it. Our son lives halfway around the world but it doesn’t seem very far because we can talk to him regularly on the computer or by telephone.

We hope to hear from Jimmy in Thailand in the next few days and hope this communication disruption will be fixed soon.