Small Towns Home-Growing Broadband for Data, Net, VOIP
A recent publication from Yankee Group examines success and failure factors of rural broadband initiatives. Most bring VOIP to public service facilities.The race is heating up between telcos and cable operators to wire up broadband customers, providing "triple play" service of voice, data and video on demand. This competition story, whose Nov. 16 installment features SBC and Comcast, is being played out in thickly populated residential and commercial centers. Further from the metro hubs, rural counties and cities are looking to their own resources and government initiatives to fund broadband buildouts for data and voice. A recent "research advisory" from the Yankee Groups Lindsay Schroth, "Wireless Broadband Finds a Home in the Country," examines this trend, its success factors and issues. Rural broadband initiatives typically start by linking up a towns own facilities: schools, police stations, hospitals, libraries, water plants and the like, says the advisory. "Often, after theyve built up the network, theyll start to act as a wholesale provider for ISPs to come into the region and bring services to businesses and consumers," said Schroth in an interview. "Theres often fiber backbone, created by utilities. They find ways to leverage that, or leverage water towers, other infrastructure."
Small-town broadband solutions are now a mixture of fiber and what Schroth calls "pre-WiMax" transport: a fixed-wireless, pre-standardized point-to-multipoint technology between base stations and outdoor-mounted transceivers.