03 December 2008

Metro-equivalent broadband

Reading Simon Rumble’s ’blog post on country broadband, & a few thoughts crossed my furry little mind.

I have had experience with broadband in a small country town (in Western Tasmania) & despite being spread out around the corner of a hill, reticulating broadband to the entire town could easily be done using two cheap (AUD$50 apiece) TP-Link wireless routers with a top speed of 100 megabits. The problem would be getting a pipe to the rest of the world, however the next town, 15km away, has ADSL so a tap into the bandwidth for that (which has to be run along the highway that our primary town is built across) seems reasonable.

That solution won’t suit everywhere but in many cases it should be practical to alter a standard/cheap router to cover maybe 100 households per throw, given only an uplink.

Some uplink stuff can be done reliably/cheaply as well, with 100Mb via hops of several 10s of km at a time via simple, cheap Yagi or dish antennae.

Now the show-stopper will be the politics.

2 comments:

Shermozle said...

This is essentially what the Optus/Elders OPEL project was in the process of delivering, before it was scotched as Not Invented Here by the incoming government. Providing a reliable service in the unlicensed spectrum isn't likely, but Internode have shown that you can do very good fixed wireless in the licensed spectrum.

The major issue for much of the bush is that Telstra own the only backhaul capacity, and there isn't a business case for a competing fibre. That means any non-Telstra entity has to pay monopoly carrier prices.

Leon RJ Brooks said...

Thanks, Shermozle.

I think it also needs to be said that living in a city is not all about costs, but that there are hidden costs also.

You get better access to public transport, shopping, airlines, social amenities (associations, clubs & the like), a multitude of facilities.

Some of the hidden costs include a certain amount of dehumanisation as you become ever more blended into the Joe/Joanne Average character.

You do not necessarily escape this effect by fleeing to the country, as a disease is not so diluted by exposure to people there, so it tends to be more concentrated, chronic & catastrophic.