Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

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Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Mon May 28, 2018 5:44 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2018/0528.shtml

I spent many a cold, wet, "interesting" hour clambering up hills with toolbox in-hand and TV translator under arm back in the 1970s -- so as to install systems that would bring television to those who were otherwise beyond the reach of its signal.

Surely, if the scale of the "unconnected rural" community is as great as claimed, there has to be a fantastic opportunity here for some equally as enterprising young entrepreneur to deliver that service via a repeater (or chain of repeaters) using WiFi technology and hi-gain antennas.

The low-cost and ready availability of the parts required to create such repeaters would surely make this not only practical but also highly profitable -- for anyone willing to put in the hard work involved.

Or are we just too laid back these days?
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Re: Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

Postby hagfish » Mon May 28, 2018 10:25 am

Don't most rural schools have UFB by now? Their boards of trustees are always on the lookout for new revenue streams. They might not be allowed to on-sell bandwidth, but they could 'rent' space in the school bell tower for the gear. And if the PTA is happy to have a battery of lasers beaming at their school from afar, you're all set!
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Re: Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

Postby Malcolm » Mon May 28, 2018 10:35 am

The big problem is it is small pockets of isolated individuals. So it would be potentially one repeater per household. As well as getting reliable connections to the repeater. To do so may require multiple hops from somewhere. Each link introduces a bit of loss/latency and the potential for failure. Each site probably won't have power so you will need to add in a solar panel and battery to each hop, perhaps something to monitor it as well. Then send someone trekking up the mountain when something fails. All the cost of this is spread over a very small subscriber base. There are groups doing this around the country and if they were easy to service, they would have been serviced by now.
Add in the additional complications of access rights to the sites to place these things and you increase the cost substantially
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Re: Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

Postby Stevesub » Mon May 28, 2018 10:38 am

There are many companies doing this already scattered around the country. Most of the country is covered
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Re: Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

Postby Grumpy » Mon May 28, 2018 11:13 am

http://wificonnect.co.nz/

We have signed up for this when another line-of-sight repeater that will serve our needs is installed later this year.

Our current provider over the 'pots' has fibre running past out road about 1.3km away but no-one is prepared to spend the money to give our small community a link to it. In the meantime we have to put up with low bandwidth, regular loss of signal and a service that can't even cope with Netflix without the odd drop-out or polling! Looks like we 'fell through the cracks' again despite the previous governments' promise of high speed service to the rural community.

Chorus, who are supposed to have completed the fibre link here ran out of money due to an underestimation of the installation costs when applying for the original contract (the same old refrain!)
In my engineering days we would estimate the cost of a project using the expenditures on previous similar works then add a 'fiddle factor' of 33% to the final cost. Not surprisingly we usually came very close to the eventual cost of the final project.
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Re: Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

Postby goosemoose » Mon May 28, 2018 11:19 am

Nope. I reckon you're barking up the wrong tree, that boat has already sailed. There are plenty of small wireless ISP's out there doing this. We got together a group of us who were using satellite and approached our local ISP, free plug here for Inspire Net, took them about 12-18 months to get it all sorted, legal stuff like getting access to land etc I suppose. Sure I could have done it but then I'd have to organise a link from the access point to somewhere and all legal BS too I presume. All you've got to do is ask your local wireless ISP. The tricky sites are the ones living in valleys in the back of beyond that will probably take multiple hops to get anywhere.

We were lucky, Inspire Net had the back haul infrastructure to get us connected with out too many technical hitches. Also the big pluss for them is we're now with them for life. Can't see any of the big ISP's laying fibre out here. My biggest dread is that they get bought out by one of the big boys who'll then proceed to screw us and provide a completely sub par (normal for them) support service.

And in all fairness to Farmside and the other satellite providers, the data does cost big $$ but at least you get it.
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Re: Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

Postby Geoffm » Mon May 28, 2018 2:23 pm

i am 50km from the Auckland CBD and i can see the skytower from my office. There is a cabinet 80m along the road, but that is a different exchange and our phone lines are so bad that you can't get a good voice call many times. No ADSL here - I use Wired Country and run a business with a $500/month internet bill. Chorus have said they have no interest in changing or fixing anything.
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Re: Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

Postby mad » Mon May 28, 2018 3:32 pm

hagfish wrote:Don't most rural schools have UFB by now? Their boards of trustees are always on the lookout for new revenue streams. They might not be allowed to on-sell bandwidth, but they could 'rent' space in the school bell tower for the gear. And if the PTA is happy to have a battery of lasers beaming at their school from afar, you're all set!


There is no problem with Rural fibre connected schools becoming "Rural hubs" in fact the Ministry of Education has documentation on exactly how to do it......

"With ultrafast broadband, you can share your connection with your community. There are some provisions you need to know about."
http://www.education.govt.nz/school/run ... onnection/
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Re: Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

Postby greven » Mon May 28, 2018 7:21 pm

Thanks mad. I was hoping someone would point that out.
Was Bruce just trolling us, or do you actually believe setting up a series of wifi repeaters would be cheap, simple & reliable enough for any geek on their own, willing to put in the elbow grease to go anywhere & provide service?
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Re: Rural broadband - an opportunity (28 May, 2018)

Postby hagfish » Tue May 29, 2018 8:12 am

mad wrote:
hagfish wrote:Don't most rural schools have UFB by now? Their boards of trustees are always on the lookout for new revenue streams. They might not be allowed to on-sell bandwidth, but they could 'rent' space in the school bell tower for the gear. And if the PTA is happy to have a battery of lasers beaming at their school from afar, you're all set!


There is no problem with Rural fibre connected schools becoming "Rural hubs" in fact the Ministry of Education has documentation on exactly how to do it......

"With ultrafast broadband, you can share your connection with your community. There are some provisions you need to know about."
http://www.education.govt.nz/school/run ... onnection/

Today I Learned.. How pragmatic and sensible! It would likely be a significant amount of effort - especially once little Noah and Emily are off to high school, and the school's resident geek-parent withdraws from the PTA. If someone could do all that behind-the-scenes heavy-lifting for a whole district - on an on-going basis - that might be an opportunity. Apparently some people are prepared to kick in $500 month for their connection..
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