KANGAROO VALLEY BROADBAND NETWORK (KVBN):
A BETTER FUTURE FOR OUR COMMUNITY
Like many rural communities Kangaroo Valley is very badly served by Australia’s NBN and telecommunications providers. From shop keepers who use EFTPOS for sales to farmers and householders who require information and want to listen to podcasts or online videos, the situation has been and is currently frustrating in the extreme. Because every person’s situation is different, the big companies have divided and ruled and the role of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsmen (TIO) is always after-the-event and never adequate. We are not alone. Complaints to the TIO about the internet increased last year by 117.5 per cent nation-wide. Its becoming clear there never will be a national solution that will meet KV’s needs, its time for the community to act together and to create their own solution.
The Practical Situation in Kangaroo Valley
The NBN has come and gone and there is only 1 tower in Kangaroo Valley. This serves those living in the village and a few extras but leaves a large number of residents outside the village with access to satellite services only. Some other areas are served by an ageing and slow ADSL1 network for which reliability is falling, many only have access via a mobile broadband dongle sticky taped to the top left corner of a window!
Internet access has become an essential part of our lives. We use it at work and at home; for teleconferencing, social media, researching, email, EFTPOS machines in our shops, accounting, making appointments, television, telephone, games. We use it for everything! In order to function in this world we need a better solution for the Valley. Thankfully John Sinclair has created KVBN as a solution for the whole community.
Who is John Sinclair?
John Sinclair is the man behind KVBN. John has been providing IT services for 15 years and when he first came to the valley 12 years ago he continued to provide IT support but moved into providing internet connections. He currently runs a small Internet Service Provider (ISP) called Gungaru with customers in the Valley and in the Highlands. Because John is the first person people call when their internet fails, he is very aware of the network problems in the valley and he has been mulling over this for some time. John has seen the frustration of residents of his home town firsthand!!
A Wireless Broadband Network Designed For Our Community
Luckily a solution is within our grasp. A few (up to 10 or 12) well placed towers would give access to about 90% of residents, these would be linked via radio over Cambewarra Mountain to Nowra where a fibre optic connection would link us to the core internet in Sydney. Later, once the larger network is established we would deploy micro-pops - very small towers - to serve those nooks and crannies that are really out of the way.
The Kangaroo Valley Broadband Network will be a fast & low latency network, it’ll be suitable for internet delivered tv and it’ll be solar powered - a robust network not affected by electricity blackouts or multiple layers of other providers. It will only cover the Kangaroo River catchment so it will remain small with a member of our community (with skin in the game) in charge and accountable - no call centre queues and fast friendly service.
In order to build the 10 towers he needs in the Valley, John needs 120 subscribers to sign up for an early-bird pre-sale. These . inaugural subscribers and early adopters will be Gold Star Members for life. Gold Star membership will cost $1000 and will include:
- Radio, antenna, router with WiFi and VOIP if required
- Antenna mount and cabling
- Professional installation by a licensed electrician
- 3 months unlimited broadband at 25Mbps
- Free level 1 technical support in your home or business
- and most importantly,
- Gold Star member’s discount for life (e.g. free upgrade of speed tier or data allowance at $95 per month)
How to make KVBN happen and get involved!
The way you can be involved is to make a pledge for $1000 to be an inaugural gold subscriber of KVBN. You can make your pledge here on the KVBN Crowdfunding Page: https://pozible.com/project/kangaroo-valley-broadband-network - we’re aiming for at least 120 subscribers to make their pledges but 180 to 220 is optimum.
For more information call John Sinclair on 0408 864 262 or Peter Botsman 0414 218 469
We can do this!!
The budget of KVBN relies on the monthly income from a minimum of 120 subscribers. The network can be established, maintained and improved with this base of support. This will support a family business that is dedicated to ensuring the community has the best quality internet services into the future. The detail of the budget can be discussed with John Sinclair at any one of the community forums and discussions that are being held over the next few weeks in Kangaroo Valley.
One of the principal challenges is that we do not reach the minimum number of subscribers to make the network happen. In this case the KVBN will not be established.
There will be ongoing problems of maintenance and ensuring that all pockets of the Valley have wireless coverage. These are challenges that John Sinclair is confident he can address.
The main point to be made about this is that, if we reach the requisite number of subscribers there will be enough income to support a full time family business based in Kangaroo Valley that is dedicated to solving any issues that may emerge for residents wanting to access the internet. This will be a welcome relief from the existing situation where contractors come from the Southern Highlands or the South Coast and are never fully able to address the needs of Kangaroo Valley consumers.