Broadband access boon for remote areas

A Southwestern provider of broadband access is using a combination of old and new technologies to break down the affordability barrier of high-speed data services in remote communities.

The Arizona community of Golden Valley is getting high-speed services, and it's a boon for emergency services such as the local fire department, which has two fire stations to cover 120 square miles.

Arizona High Speed Access uses broadband pipes of at least 2 megabits/sec to connect to a central hub by very small-aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite technology. It then uses Wi-Fi wireless local-area networks to distribute high-speed services to users within a 15-mile radius.

Without these services, daily reports from remote fire stations must be stored on disk and hand-delivered to the main station, fire chief Harold Nystedt said. The information then has to be manually entered into the server-based system.

"We had no way of getting that information into the server previously without an expensive dedicated phone line," Nystedt said. He said the wireless service will enable the department to make the information available sooner.

The wireless Internet connection could also send information to facilities such as hospitals, he said, although that depends on how sensitive data, such as patient records, is secured.

The satellite/Wi-Fi combination reduces broadband charges for remote locations to the cost of Digital Subscriber Line or cable broadband in metropolitan areas, said Edward Buxtel, executive vice president of SkyFrames Inc., which provides the broadband technology for Arizona High Speed Access.

Connections from a satellite to an antenna can be expensive, he said, but the VSAT/Wi-Fi service can provide service to users for $25 to $45 a month. With data service, it can also provide services such as voice-over-IP, he added.

As homeland security concerns create a greater demand for high-speed services, Buxtel said broadband demand in remote areas is increasing dramatically. Demand has doubled for each of the past six months, he said.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group