Feeds

Comtralis unwires Newmarket

'We're number one in rural broadband'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

There's a touch of shock showing on the faces of many in the wireless 'rural broadband' business in the UK since the collapse of Invisible Networks. Comtralis Networks reckons it is now top of the heap - having just unwired the town of Newmarket, Suffolk. It's been 'meshed' too.

Steve Richardson, founder of the networking specialist company, said that using the LocustWorld Meshboxes meant that he'd been able to install local broadband for a total upfront cost of £15,000, where the previous quote (from Invisible) had been for £50,000, or more.

"Newmarket, like many other towns, is crying out for broadband," said Richardson. "BT has actually published a list of 322 market towns in the UK where it has said that definitely never, ever, will it enable the local phone exchange for DSL."

Comtralis reckons that the Meshbox is the only way to make a business model work in wireless. Newmarket, famous for horse racing, now has a 1Mbps leased line coming in, shared around 25 small business clients, using a total of 20 Meshboxes.

"It's a success; people are paying money for the service," said Richardson. "We charge £60 a month as the average fee; but several are paying only £30 a month for a single PC; then, customers using 1-10 clients pay £60 and those running over ten machines pay £100."

There's a £149 pound setup fee. Prices are slightly above those paid by most DSL customers these days, "but this isn't an asymmetric service; the leased line carries as much data up as down, so its SDSL, if you like to call it that".

The town is home to Tattersalls, the bloodstock people - Europe's biggest horse auctioneer, it says - and they have a node on network. Actually, they have two; a public one, and a private one.

The private node is for their own use; the public one is so that people who are bidding can bring their iPaqs along and check the progress of bidding, and look up details of other horses while they do it. It's done by using one of the new dual-radio Meshboxes; one radio for each network.

"We also have another client in the town - Rossdales, the vet, where we've installed a Meshbox, and a virtual private network," said Richardson. "They can work on their own system when they're at the Tattersalls premises, tunnelling through the VPN over the public Wi-Fi access."

Richardson shares the opinion of Broadreach - a public Wi-Fi provider which regards public Wi-Fi as "not yet a viable business proposition."

Comtralis says it won't make its profit out of the connectivity, but out of the added value services it can provide to smaller businesses once they are online. "We will carry on with our mainstream business of installing LANs, firewalls, phone switchboards and the like," said Richardson. "That's where our turnkey solutions expertise is."

One promising avenue for future customers, he believes, is in voice-over-Net (VON) provision. "The dual-radio Meshbox will be ideal there, because we'll be able to confine all the phone traffic to one radio, and all data to the other, and provide quality of service appropriate," he said.

However, like Broadreach, Comtralis believes that there's a future in Wi-Fi, and is creating a subsidiary, partner company called Comtralis Networks which will concentrate on selling rural broadband.

"There are a lot of smaller towns where BT has 'trigger' points - where if a certain number of people request it, they'll move DSL equipment into the local phone exchange. Obviously, we think we can sell easily to the people who've been told 'never' but we also think we can install good broadband in some of the trigger towns." ®

Copyright © 2003, Newswireless.net

Recent Newswireless.net Stories

Why you might pay £499 for an MP3 player...
Why would anybody want to program a Palm, using Visual Basic?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.