Wednesday, September 26, 2007

WISPs endeavor to provide needed broadband "third pipe" in El Dorado County

The pathetic state of wireline broadband Internet access in El Dorado County, California has spawned locally based Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) to provide a much needed "third pipe" for county residents and small businesses who have been stiff armed for years by AT&T and Comcast.

Startup Remotely Located run by Jason and Jennifer Wilson is deploying Wi-Fi based service using both directional and non-directional transmission technology. Remotely Located is serving areas deprived of wireline broadband service in the Mosquito/Swansboro Country area and has recently expanded into West Camino and your blogger's neighborhood.

Sierra Advantage emerged out of the bankruptcy earlier this year of one of El Dorado County's first ISPs, Direct Connect. According to the WISP's service area map, it covers my area. Not quite yet, according to Brett Patterson, director of sales for Shingle Springs-based Sierra Advantage. "We continue to build out our network and get closer each week to offering you service," Patterson wrote in an email yesterday. "Soon we will have additional equipment up in your area. There are some very exciting, positive changes coming for us regarding our Internet services."

My hat's off to these WISPs. Providing fixed terrestrial wireless Internet access in El Dorado County's rugged terrain where steep canyons and tall trees create obstacles for wireless signals is no easy feat.

Aside from overcoming these technological hurdles and providing reliable service at advertised throughput speeds, a key challenge as they add customers will be obtaining sufficient backhaul connections to the Internet -- wireline circuits capable of providing large amounts of bandwidth -- to accomodate the growth. Subscribers won't be pleased if a bandwidth traffic jam at the backhaul makes their speeds slow to a crawl and drag with the high latency that afflicts substandard satellite-based Internet access.

Readers who subscribe to services offered by these WISPS are invited to share their experiences and satisfaction with them by posting comments to this post.


gretchen said...

I finally got fed up waiting. Called Sprint got a broadband card and it is wonderful. I can even use it when a passenger on my laptop, on the freeway. About the same price as AT&T. I love it

Fred Pilot said...

It should be borne in mind that these kinds of services are intended to provide mobile broadband rather than dedicated broadband service to residences and businesses. As such, service is typically concentrated along highway corridors. A check of Sprint's web site mapping tool reveals the Sprint Mobile Broadband Network provides only limited coverage in El Dorado County with large areas outside of its service area.

Phil said...

I have had Direct Connect (now Sierra Advantage for about 1 1/2 years. Generally I have had very good results though lately I have runn into a slowdown in connection speed. I have had them come out and try to fix it a few times but only seems to work at full speed for a short period of time and then slows down some. Still much better than any other option. I know it can function faster (I have their second fastest speed option) and hopefully it will again soon.

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