New Public Interest Group Formed for National Broadband Initiative



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Interesting approach to getting broadband in the rural areas. In theory, an initiative like this sounds great if it were to receive the proper support from both public and private sectors. However, if economics teaches us something, the big telecom companies won't bother doing this as the 'returns will not justify the expense of introducing the necessary infrastructure.' Well, at least that's what some of the local telecoms said here in Canada regarding rural broadband access. However, Bell's Sympatico Unplugged, is similar to WiMAX as it has the range necessary using their cellular network, they just don't have the speed necessary and reception is spotty. I'm talking from experience as I currently have the service for when I'm at work or on the go and I need portable broadband access, even if it's only 3mbit.

- mike_art03a
IT Technician
Gov't of Canada



WTF Happened to WiMAX? If im not mistaken, WiMAX was supposed to have near 250Mbits Throughput. Also Fiber to the curb like Verizons FIOS is a better option in my opinion; Its not susceptiple to EMI, extremly scalable, plus upgrading the countries infrastructure is main focus. So why not rip up the copper and start laying down fiber. As for the rural folk, they have copper phone lines too, change it out to fiber as well, and for those that cant get it, Fiber Backbone to the WiMAX Transmission tower. The only problems I see are the Mountins, were the obvious terrain features will pose serrious obsticales for both technologies.

 Also what is to become of the freqs auctioned off by the FCC? Wouldnt those Freq bands eventually be used to provide wireless services like those described in the above article?



Wimax (aka 802.16) had been stuck in perpetual development. There is lots of gear based on 802.16 floating around, the spec has changed dozens of times. Right now 802.16e is a favorite at 70Mbit up/down, but that is only achievable at short ranges, and like cable, wireless tends to pile up with the more people you have on a single tower. That is perfectly manageable though. WiMAX II or 802.16m is hoped to do 100Mbit mobile and up to 1Gbit fixed, but don’t look for that for over another decade at least.

One of the issues with TV spectrum is that currently wireless needs higher frequencies or parallel non-overlapping frequencies to carry bandwidth. We like low frequencies because they penetrate obstacles like walls, trees, cars, better. They don’t carry as much bandwidth however. For more bandwidth we have to go the other way and go to a higher frequency, which of course then means we have trouble getting signal through the trees again.

You also need line of site in mountainous areas to wireless towers. That means more towers in hilly areas.
I think wireless is the answer, it’s just not totally there yet for universal broadband.

As for fiber, it would be an ideal solution if money were no object. Unfortunately it is a big deal to replace copper with fiber house to house. FiOS is only in areas where there is a certain level of saturation of people. It doesn’t make financial sense to replace miles of copper with fiber for few users. There is a lot less money going into traditional phone service with everyone wanting cell phones too and competition in phone services. Verizon recently unloaded all of NH, Vermont, and Maine (with some of the oldest infrastructure in the US) to Fairpoint Communications. Verizon wasn’t interested in pumping money into rural areas with little return.



Interesting thoughts.

 The challenge I see with a Universal/Open Wireless approach as the primary delivery vehicle is the different class of service that it offers to users.

 Looking down the road at the new class of services that are coming online on the internet - things like telepresence, two-way HDTV service, broadcast HD IPTV - they are all enormous consumers of bandwidth.  As the price of employee travel rises - this will be the type of service people will want at home.  For those of us with Cable or FTTH/N - not an issue.

When is any current wireless solution going to offer anything close to this level of bandwidth?  Anyone stuck at the other end of a wireless universal approach is going to be a second class citizen for a very long time. 

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