On another topic ... :-)

PS, Mr. Metcalfe. Reports for the old reliable telephone system show
over the course of a year, a daily average of 30,000 US telephone customers
are out of service for five hours.

Source please?

The ATIS network reliability council steering committee report "Keeping
the Network Alive And Well: Solving the problem of cable dig-ups."

  >Facility outages continue to be the leading contributor to outages in the
  >Public Switched Network. Approximately 50% of FCC-reportable service outages
  >and their impact have been caused by facility outages. Roughly 33 million
  >customers over the past three years or 30,000 customers a day have lost
  >access to the Public Switched network for an average of 5 hours because of
  >these problems. The ATIS NRSC Facilities Solution Team was chartered to
  >determine the causes of these facility outages and to recommend ways to
  >reduce their number and impact.

A copy of the Facilities Solution Team report entitled "Keeping the Network
Alive and Well: Solving the Problem of Cable Dig-Ups" can be obtained by
contacting ATIS on (202) 628-6380.

Note that packet switched networks like the core meshes of the NSP's can
be engineered such that backhoes have zero effect on customer service.
Even when stuff like RSVP is in widespread usage it should be possible
to keep the effect of backhoes down to the level of static.

Michael Dillon - ISP & Internet Consulting
Memra Software Inc. - Fax: +1-604-546-3049
http://www.memra.com - E-mail: michael@memra.com