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Future of Telephone Poles?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by gavine, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    Is it crazy to think that telephone poles will be a thing of that past some day? Between solar with batteries for off-grid electricity and StarLink, the need for lines will go-away, right? How nice would it be to get rid of all of those ugly wires and poles? Looking forward to that day.
     
  2. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    Developing countries are skipping the hardwired infrastructure stage, but I don't see areas with existing pole based infrastructure (phone lines, cable, power) going away. A distributed grid is more reliable than individual islands and multiple copper/ fiber lines carry more data than wireless.
     
  3. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    Many areas in Europe have also buried their cabling, but at least so far the US generally hasn't because of cost.

    Solar plus batteries isn't going to be a 24/365 power source for quite awhile if ever in most area of the country. When it's overcast and rainy for 3 or 4 days running, I still would like to have power.
     
  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't be going away, just would require higher population density to see them.
     
  5. SpiceWare

    SpiceWare Member

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    Wonder if one of the differences is because in Europe took advantage of having to rebuild after the war while we didn't need to.

    In all the neighborhoods around me which started being built in the 80s and 90s*, everything's underground, while older neighborhoods like where my folks live have everything above ground.



    *I'm in Fresno, which had a population of 120 in 1970. It started to grow due to Houston's growth (we're 20 miles from downtown) to 19,069 as of the census in 2010. My home was built in 1999.
     
  6. mongo

    mongo Well-Known Member

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    If it's a new development that is running gas, sewer. and water mains anyway, the cost for electrical distribution underground may be less than overheard with poles. Retrofitting electric is much more intensive and costly.
     
  7. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    Toothpicks. Lots and lots of toothpicks. Never mind the creosote. Adds flavor.

    Other than that, I’m thinking mulch.
     
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  8. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    But, when batteries get cheap enough and you can get 200kWh of storage at a reasonable cost, people will certainly go off-grid. And, by then, grid power will have gotten more and more expensive making storage even more desirable. I have to think at some point, grid power will be a thing of the past.
     
  9. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    Pressure-treated mulch. I like that!
     
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  10. nwdiver

    nwdiver Well-Known Member

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    I think the grid is extremely useful infrastructure. Not everyone is ideal situated for solar and nighttime wind will likely always be cheaper than storage. Unfortunately Utility greed and stupidity is working overtime to destroy its viability....
     
  11. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    In areas of high population density, individual-house solar will not likely be possible. I predict a future where all practical rooftops will have solar, but a lot of power will also come from wind farms and solar farms, and be distributed through a grid. If you have a single-family home, you'll make all your own electricity, but it still might be cost-effective to be grid-tied rather than cut off. Feed the grid in the daytime, get it back at night.
     
  12. bxr140

    bxr140 Active Member

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    It’s a little more complicated than that. If you’re strictly talking what we know as telephone lines and telephone poles, yes, they will be obsolete at some point.

    However, physics and economics will always result in terrestrial solutions, at least in densely populated areas. Starlink (and others) will push that boundary farther into populated areas, but it’s always going to be somewhere between the sticks and the burbs, not the burbs and the city. It’s simply a matter of how much less it costs to bolt comms equipment to the top of a tower/building/etc vs bolting comms equipment on the top of a rocket.

    One thing that will be interesting in he future is how data transmission will be split between hardline and OTA. The former will always have numbers over the later, but clearly at the consumer level at least, LTE (and soon 5G) has proven more than capable for the vast majority of use cases.
     
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