A fantastic article from ABC Rural about Harrington Systems Electonics Wi-Sky's NSW partner Jock Graham.
Fed up with painfully slow internet and a dodgy mobile connection? If you live in the bush, you are not alone.
Rural communities across the world are in the same boat, and some have banded together to do something about it, as southern New South Wales farmer and app developer Jock Graham discovered on his 2015 Nuffield farming scholarship.
Funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, his study took the livestock and cropping farmer from Coolac near Gundagai to the UK and Ireland, France, China, Switzerland and Canada.
Mr Graham said rural communities in the UK and Ireland had developed their own networks to overcome communication problems.
"It entails having a very long network that can travel long distances at the least cost," he said.
"Utilising solar power, utilising the community members' hills, and strategically putting things in place to get a better connection point."
In Canada the emphasis was on rolling out fibre-based broadband to different towns.
"Then allow businesses to come in and utilise that infrastructure to do the last mile delivery.
"They were really still pushing that as the model, and I still think if they had done that for the NBN (National Broadband Network) in Australia, it would create a faster rollout and better opportunities for smaller communities."
Boosting mobile phone coverage vital
Mr Graham's Nuffield study also focused on improving mobile phone coverage.
The research showed there were two key technologies available to boost service — a femtocell device or a Cel-fi device.
Mr Graham said the devices could pick up the best signal from an aerial or a box near a window and repeat it back to the middle of the house with a secondary box.
"It's great to have an internet connection at home, which is what I'm really keen on, but out in the paddock, making phone calls where there's not many people and not many services, it's just as important," he said.
"Obviously making the networks in the highest capacity, so going from a 3G network to a 4G network to ultimately 5G and beyond.
"That's for communication on the go, and a fixed wireless network is for the house."
Mr Graham has since established a fixed wireless network made of up of 20 solar-powered relay poles across the Gundagai, Tumut and Cootamundra shires in NSW.
A similar network is also available in the Richmond and North West Queensland shires.
"We have control over what we can deliver, which is a big thing," he said.
Posted on Wed, November 30, 2016
by Emily Harrington