Two Ventura County firms--Siemens Solar Industries and GTE California--have joined in installing North America's first solar-powered telephone routing switch.
The unit, called a digital loop carrier, will bring phone service to a remote cluster of 20 homes in San Bernardino County. The community has no commercial electrical service and no available telephone lines. A solar, or photovoltaic, unit was chosen to power the switch because it would have been too costly to run electrical and telephone lines to the area.
Siemens Solar, based in Camarillo, provided the solar cells used in a special switch produced by a sister company, Siemens Stromberg-Carlson. GTE California, based in Thousand Oaks, said it is considering solar-powered switches as "an ideal solution" for meeting rural customers' needs.