Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2018 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Rural broadband - an opportunity

28 May 2018

When I was a young lad in my early 20's, one of the jobs that kept me busy was the installation of television translators designed to beam signals into small pockets of population where reception would otherwise be impossible.

Although such systems cost quite a bit of money, there was no shortage of people willing to pay for the privilege of receiving a TV signal.

I think the last one of these I installed was at Lochinvar Station back in about 1978 or 1979 and it was quite an easy way to earn good money -- for a young fellow who was willing to drive out into the boonies with a van-load of gear and enough knowledge to set everything up.

Why am I mentioning this today?

Well on the weekend I read a news story about how there is quite a sizable number of rural people who, short of spending $300/month for 12GB via satellite, simply have no form of broadband internet access.

What an opportunity!

Broadband today, is much like television was back in the 1970s.

Everybody wants it... but to geographical constraints, not everyone can get it.

So where are the entrepreneurs who are getting out there and creating WiFi repeater stations and links to service those in the extreme rural community that are unable to get fibre, DSL or cellular broadband?

Hell, it would even cheaper today to install an broadband-repeater system than it was cost to install a TV translator some 40 years ago (inflation adjusted).

Most (if not all) of the hardware could be bought off AliExpress for chump-change and once you'd prototyped a solar/wind-powered relay station, producing them in small quantities would be very simple and easy. The next task would be to find a place where you could create an access point to the UFB or DSL network. That would send a WiFi signal to the repeater (or a string of repeaters) until the signal reached the desired location.

This simply isn't rocket surgery... certainly within the capacities of any eager young entrepreneur with half a bucket of smarts and a bucket of enthusiasm.

Hell, if I could do this 40 years ago with TV signals, surely there has to be someone out there who could make a fine living delivering broadband to otherwise inaccessible locations at prices which would knock satellite out of the park.

Or perhaps there is already someone doing this... in which case, what was the newspaper story droning on about?

All the parts have never been cheaper and perhaps the only hassle (these days) might be getting permission from the local Iwi, DOC or whoever's land you need to locate a repeater station (or two).

Come to think of it... based on the tales of woe I've heard, that permission thing could be a real roadblock. Nah... I don't think *I* will bother... but someone should.

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column

Rank This Aardvark Page


Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines



Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam


Recent Columns

Google: we know where you have been
People around the world are shocked and horrified that Google has been tracking their every move, even without their permission...

The USA's Space Force
Ronald Regan started it all with his "Star Wars" initiative...

Buy your tech stuff now?
The Kiwi dollar has taken a bit of a tumble on news that the Reserve Bank will keep interest rates low for at least the next 18 months...

ArsTechnica, the Daily Mirror of tech news?
When we think of "fake news" we almost always refer to the mainstream news outlets which have increasingly focused on sensationalising stories in search of extra clicks and ad revenue...

Climate change, things just got hotter
Reports began appearing in the media this week which indicate that AGW is now growing at such a rate that the "tipping point" may be upon us in less than a decade or two...

Core blimey!
The price of the new Ryzen Threadripper 2990W processor has been leaked...

Tax, plastic, assassinations
Yes, it's another pot pouri of topics rather than a common theme today...

Drone... groan!
Okay, it's time for my regular moan about drones so don't groan...

More power!
I'd already the story which prompted today's column when a reader dropped me an email with a link to it...

Google and hypocrisy
Google and copyright... don't get me started!...

Is social media crashing?
Facebook shares took a hit of almost 20% on news that the social media giant is suffering from slowing growth and revenue gains...