WiMAX may provide services to remote areas


POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2009

A mainland-based joint venture could bring satellite-based broadband Internet and more to remote areas of Hawaii.

Connecticut-based AlphaStar International Inc. and Missouri-based Computers & Tele-Comm Inc. announced a joint venture yesterday that will provide high-speed WiMAX 4G services anywhere in the U.S., including Hawaii.

WiMAX is like Wi-Fi on steroids - satellite-borne data service capable of linking users with the Internet, television signals and more.

“;Rural areas with no access to broadband fiber finally have a solution to getting connected at 4G speeds,”; said Graeme Gibson, CTC president, in a statement.

The companies' hybrid model uses satellites to serve ground-based WiMAX transmitters that send the service to customers, Gibson told TheBuzz.

It also can supply Wi-Fi systems or be used for mobile, maritime, disaster recovery and homeland security purposes.

Typical satellite receivers are expensive and “;most satellite receivers are one-way,”; Gibson said. Data comes down to the computer fast, but upload speed is very slow.

The hybrid system allows “;both upstream and downstream (to) be equally fast.”;

One way it does that is by using a caching system to harvest information from the Internet overnight when satellite usage is decreased and the time is cheaper.

A user accessing Google search during the day would get graphics and unchanging information from the caching servers and the search results fresh from the Internet, he said.

Storing information makes for “;lots o' speed compared to the traditional approach,”; Gibson said.

The announcement keys off federal stimulus dollars aimed at bringing broadband service to unserved and underserved areas of the country.

The funds “;provide capital expenditure dollars to buy the nuts and bolts, the land and infrastructure to do this,”; he said.

The CTC's Rural Reference Model (see pdf link) contains details interested companies or organizations will need for planning, budgeting and implementation.

“;If somebody has been waiting for years to get the Internet where they are, we can get it to them,”; Gibson said.

Separately, several areas around the state lost over-the-air TV as a result of January's transition to digital TV broadcasting.

“;This system is capable of shipping 500 standard definition TV signals or 120 HDTV signals,”; he said. Customers would still have to buy the content, of course.


Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).