Southern ISP plans bulk broadband buying bloc

Southland will get a broadband boost if a planned initiative by southern ISP SouthNET succeeds.

Southland will get a broadband boost if a planned initiative by southern ISP SouthNET succeeds.

SouthNET’s ambition is to become the “aggregation leverage point” for high-speed wireless internet services in Southland, says managing director Marc Cohen.

“We believe that by aggregating demand by schools, businesses, regional and district councils, other organisations and individuals in Southland and distributing the service via wireless technology, we should be able to provide a high-speed internet service which competes with Telecom’s JetStream in Invercargill.”

Cohen claims the service will be 15% to 20% cheaper than JetStream, which has been available in Invercargill since August, but only within 4km of Telecom’s DSL exchange in the city centre, and 20% to 50% less expensive than Telecom’s high speed frame relay service in rural Southland.

The idea is for organisations requiring bandwidth to get together and form a buying bloc, buying from SouthNET who in turn will buy from “wholesalers” such as Telecom and BCL, the latter of whom may be a vital provider in the future.

“SouthNET would continue to use Telecom-based infrastructure until BCL’s infrastructure is available to third parties.”

SouthNET has held discussions with BCL, Cohen says, and while BCL hasn’t made any firm commitment, “from speaking to them, I believe they intend to let companies like us hang our equipment off their wireless network.”

If and when the switch is made to BCL, “it will be more cost-effective”.

Recent advances in wireless technology are making plans such as SouthNET’s increasingly feasible, he says.

“The technology has become far more efficient and less expensive in the past six months.”

Wireless technoogy is already being used in several spots in Southland, including the Southland Institute of Technology in Invercargill and Waiau College in Tuatapere, which is using BCL’s network for distance learning.

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