Seven billion dollars tends to grab the attention of a lot of people. We were reminded of that earlier this week while attending the Broadband Initiative Kick-Off meeting for the rural broadband stimulus program – let’s just say it drew a crowd. Now comes all of the solutions that are going to ‘fix’ the rural broadband problem, and by the way, position themselves to get a piece of the $7 billion pie. The latest is a WiMAX-Satellite hybrid system using WiMAX for broadband access and satellite broadband for backhaul. AlphaStar International, Inc. and Computers & Tele-Comm, Inc. (CTC) have announced a joint venture which pairs the two broadband technologies. It’s an interesting pair, considering neither has been seen as a bastion of broadband success – at least not yet.
“The Digital Divide just got smaller. Today with this announcement, rural areas with no access to broadband fiber finally have a solution to getting connected at 4G speeds,” says CTC President Graeme Gibson in a joint press release. Their press release mentions 4G several times and even suggests the system could support video and audio streaming. We’re a little skeptical, given the limitations of satellite backhaul, but would love to be convinced otherwise. Acknowledging satellite’s limitation for broadband, including its latency issues, this hybrid model apparently leverages caching as much as possible. Alphastar and CTC are targeting rural broadband providers and metro Wi-Fi operators with the solution. No word on any functioning systems or actual paying subscribers using this solution.
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