WiFi network for NSW south coast

Speeds of up to 54mbs

Announcing it will deploy a metro-wide WiFi network on the NSW south coast today, telecommunications provider, Snoopa Community, took a swipe at politicians accusing them of "grandstanding" and "outlandish claims" when it comes to broadband services in the bush.

The WiFi network will cover the Shoalhaven and Kiama local government areas with towns such as Vincentia, Minnamurra and Wattamolla getting broadband access for the first time.

According to Snoopa manager, Barry Maguire, the town of Wattamolla hasn't even had mobile coverage before.

He said Snoopa provides infrastructure and will manage the network locally providing communities with a say in its future.

Put simply, the telco provider operates its bush services along the lines of a community bank model.

"Local communities can now do what the carriers have neglected to do for the past decade and reap the benefits of new technology," Maguire said.

The Snoopa catchcry is to empower regional Australia by providing them with access to services without waiting for a city-based telco to roll out new products.

The creator of Snoopa Community, Terry Crews, said he has spent the last three years travelling around regional areas to determine the best solutions for the bush.

He said recent changes to the Australian Broadband Guarantee Scheme has allowed Snoopa to commence the Shoalhaven and Kiama rollout immediately.

"The Shoalhaven and Kiama areas will be the first to experience speeds of up to 54mbs and take advantage of a new mobile network that will dramatically reduce the cost of mobile calls in the area," he said.

Crews was critical of the recently announced $5 billion-plus pledge by the Labor Party to build a high speed broadband network throughout Australia.

He said the cost of running fibre in regional areas to reach 98 percent of the population would cost more than $8 billion.

"It is a disgrace that politicians can make such outlandish claims and play with the future of the most important service needed in the bush in such a cavalier manner," Crews said.

"It is about time they stopped grandstanding and put some thought into helping the so called two percent of the population that are being treated like second class citizens; from my travels that figure is really closer to five percent."

Prices for broadband services under the network will start at $5 per month and a basic 500 megabyte plan is $25 per month at the maximum speed.

WiFi enabled laptops will have access to the Internet from anywhere in the coverage area.

Calls from Snoopa customers will be free from anywhere in the world. There are over 150,000 free WiFi hotspots around the world and this number is doubling annually.

"Rural communities will have a better service than their city cousins," Crews added.

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Sandra Rossi

Computerworld
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