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Is DIY Broadband The Answer? 19 December 2001 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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Long before the Internet was even a twinkle in its creators' eyes, and decades before the advent of email, IRC and instant messaging, regular folks were exchanging messages, chatting and communicating by electronic means.

Yes, even Joe average citizen in rural New Zealand could spend hours talking about the weather with someone in Australia, the USA, Europe, or almost any other place on the face of the globe -- and it didn't cost a penny!

So what was this magic? Where is it now?

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Well it's still around, and I am of course referring to HAM radio.

During its heyday, HAM radio was a very popular hobby, and (in pre-cellphone times) something that came in extraordinarily useful in times of disaster or emergency.

Something similar, albeit with a far more limited range, arrived in the form of CB radio during the 1970's.

But what has this all got to do with the Net and broadband?

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • Wireless broadband... - Gerbs
  • Your idea is flawed... - Lonney

    From Yesterday...

  • ADSL charges... - David
  • Move To Wellington... - James
  • NZ's domestic bandwidth... - Matthew
  • ADSL Charges... - Simon
  • Move to Wellington?... - Allister
  • ADSL Alternatives?... - Joe
  • Saturn Cable... - J

  • Have Your Say

    Well several readers have emailed me with the suggestion that one broadband alternative might be to create a national wireless network which effectively circumvents the Telco monopolies.

    Some people are doing a whole lot more than talking. They've actually started to take some action and are attempting to get this ball rolling.

    Imagine the effect this type of independent "community" would have on Telecom's DSL service.

    Maybe we'd see some sensible attitudes and pricing for a change.

    And... it would provide exactly the type of low-cost access to local broadband content I was talking about in yesterday's column.

    Unfortunately, one of the problems with such systems is that they require very careful organisation and coordination -- something that the URL nz.wirelessanarch.com doesn't really imply.

    However, it's worth noting that the HAM community have already proven that they can coordinate their resources to create wide area networks of radio repeaters for members -- so surely the Net community can do the same.

    Perhaps the future of broadband really is in the hands of the users.

    What do you think? Would you be prepared to chip in to support the creation of such a service? Would you use such a service?

    Have your say -- and don't forget to select For Publication if you want me to publish them here.

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    All this traffic has meant that I've had to shift the site to a new server to ensure that your daily dose is always fresh and delivered to your browser with minimal delays.

    I also invest over 300 hours per year writing the daily column and compiling the day's news index -- all for your illumination and entertainment.

    If you haven't sent any money to help offset the costs of running this ad-free, 100% Kiwi, always fresh, often controversial site then you can give yourself the warm-fuzzies this Christmas by doing so now.

    Just drop by, click on the Aardvark, and hand over your loot.


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