Before I gave my presentation down here in Launceston, I met and spoke with Jennifer Dunbabin – Framework Coordinator for TAS (FLAG Support), and manager for the Access to Bandwidth project. I am thoroughly interested in what Jen has to say about this access issue in Australia, and she strikes me as someone who not only knows quite a bit about the issues, but has great ideas on how to provide access to areas in Australia to acceptable levels of bandwidth.

We were discussing the idea of community wireless hotspots and free wireless projects. Jen mentioned the problem of capacity when offering wireless access on a large scale. I responded with the idea of community cooperatives, or small scale wireless offerings in cafes, businesses and public buildings etc. Jen mentioned the problem of maximising the reach of a wireless modem, and made the brilliant suggestion of using churches! That’s right! A wireless modem strapped on to the holy symbols adorning your preferred congregation. When you think about it, its a bloody great idea. Churches, especially earlier Christian churches are usually central and on high ground. All a church need do is open a broadband account on their phone line, plug in a wireless modem and gaffa tape it to the steeple, and wait for the masses to come.

Of course, you don’t have to be a church to offer this. If you live in an apartment building, talk to your neighbours and agree to share one account of the biggest fattest bandwidth via a wireless modem. Suddenly your monthly communication bill is down to $5 a month!

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