Fancy Shoestring Allows PCC to Walk the Broadband Walk

By Juan Lacayo|April 24, 2018Student Writing, The Porthole|

Portland City Council and PCC have partnered to tackle the issue of community broadband. Telecom and engineering researchers have discovered a new low-cost, high tech solution to make high-speed internet available to all communities regardless of their population density or existing infrastructure and any barriers to its use.

Councilperson Anita Dollar has repeatedly called for low-cost, practical solutions to make high-speed internet available to low-income and rural communities. She asserts that these residents typically only have expensive lower bandwidth services available to them. Telecoms claim that low subscriber rates and inadequate infrastructure impede the availability of high-speed internet to these communities, which typically have problematic older buildings and infrastructure.

Sharter Communications spokesperson Hugh Dingus apologized on behalf of the company to the Bradbury brothers of John Day, Oregon for their “laggy-ass speeds” and for the “piss-poor framerates” they achieve during their weekly Fortnite parties. Dingus assured them that once Sharter received another 6-17 more payments from the brothers they could “download more RAM to remedy the server issues affecting the internet’s performance.” When asked about whether the Bitcoin mining operation Sharter currently runs in John Day could be affecting the Bradbury’s internet speeds, Dingus replied:

“Listen, the Bradbury’s aren’t just playing Fortnite, at 320 frames per second, they’re shitposting on Reddit, they’re posting memes all over the internet, Hell, they host ‘The Bronie Express,’ the internet’s largest My Little Pony podcast and merch shop! These guys are power users. A miniscule $750,000/month Bitcoin mine pales in comparison to just ‘The Bronie Express’.”

In Portland, Comcash and CenturyStink representatives declined to comment citing bandwidth issues.

Innovator, freegan, and self-described reclusive genius Squamish Dufresne has proposed a solution that garnered attention from PCC Engineering Department heads, as well as Portland City Council members. Drawing upon his extensive experience with 3D printing, graphene manufacturing and applications, and static electricity innovations (he invented a plasma ball lamp that wirelessly charges his myPhone while simultaneously wirelessly uploading his cat vines) he has combined a fantasy, low tech communications solution with actual available tech in a way that could change the telecom landscape forever. When asked what inspired his invention, Dufresne had this to say:

“When I was a pup, I used to watch my favorite Saturday morning cartoon heroes talk to each other with a couple of tin cans on a string. I remember tinkering with something like that in those rough-and-tumble days, but I couldn’t quite get past a problem inherent to working with string or twine or yarn, really any kind of cordage if you think about it.”

The problem he describes is the irresistibility of string to a common four-legged presence in neighborhoods all over Portland: cats.

“My darn kitties would inevitably chew the yarn, which is the best kind of cordage for the task of long distance communications, and I’d end up re laying that yarn until I just up and quit one day.”

The invention and widespread industrial use of a new conductive material known as graphene has brought back the spark Dufresne once had for this cartoonish technology. Using graphene rather than yarn makes the system more durable, more reliable, and circumvents the cat problem that would inevitably plague a system like the prototype pioneered by Dufresne all those years ago. His patented system has allowed PCC engineering students and faculty alike to enjoy a new, more reliable network free of the connection and speed issues that have plagued campuses as of late.

One hiccup that has arisen as a result of the layoff of the entire janitorial staff at each campus hearkens back to Dufresne’s childhood.

“Ever since (PCC) replaced their janitors with Roombas, we’ve noticed much dirtier facilities. And it’s not because of their bumbling cleaning techniques, charming as they might be,” declared student Oliver Oxenfree.

Facilities management staff believe that once one of them sucked up a stray bit of graphene after the install, they all appeared to have an insatiable taste for it.

PCC did not make a statement about the layoff or the wire-hungry herd of Roombas. The Porthole will follow up as more information becomes available.

Share this Post:
Juan Lacayo

About Juan Lacayo

It’s difficult to describe my academic path because I haven’t figured out how to merge my interests into a degree program. I’m currently enrolled in the Multimedia Studies program in the hopes that I can gain the skills to cobble together a career with a Vice News or Radiolab type of organization as a storyteller. My interests include: music (jazz, electronic, hip hop, etc.), cinema, reading deviant or counterculture literature, comedy, social justice, and attempting to understand cultural and individual idiosyncrasies. My passions include: writing fiction, riding and working on bikes, and capturing the world through the “Juan” filter. I’m one of the lead bakers with Blue Star Donuts, which means that I have my hands in just about everything on the production side of the operation. On any given day, I could be making the dough, rolling out and cutting doughnuts, frying and finishing doughnuts, or making the magical potions that comprise our glazes, garnishes, and fillings. This type of position suits me, as I fancy myself a Jack-of-all-Trades, and I like to keep busy. Whatever I’m involved in, I like to have a hand in as many things as my expertise will allow. I love learning new things.