Feeds

Comtralis unwires Newmarket

'We're number one in rural broadband'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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?

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.