Open Wireless Network?

The St Cloud Times featured a story on NewCore, a company that has a plan to help stretch broadband into more remote areas. Rather than try to rephrase and potential misrepresent something I’m going to borrow heavily from the St Cloud story:

NewCore invested $5 million in infrastructure so rural telephone companies, local entrepreneurs and others can offer wireless through NewCore’s equipment. The infrastructure is actually computer equipment that — once connected to a cell phone tower or radio transmitter owned by one of its customers — allows people to use the Internet and make cell phone calls.

But it doesn’t connect directly with wireless users. Rather, companies and entrepreneurs buy the ability to use NewCore’s infrastructure so they can offer Internet and cell phone service to consumers.

NewCore is taking something usually found through large companies and making it available to any provider. Often the equipment is too expensive for small or rural companies to buy, Kangas said. And wireless Internet and cell phone coverage through larger companies can be spotty in rural areas, he said, because bigger businesses often focus on the nation’s top 50 markets.

So far NewCore has signed five deals with customers. Three are with Central Minnesota companies — Albany Mutual Telephone Association, Benton Cooperative Telephone Co. and Palmer Wireless. The other two are companies people will recognize, Kangas said, but NewCore can’t name them until finalizing contract details.

It sounds like an open source wireless network to me. What’s nice is this is the kind of innovation that broadband technology can spur. The company plans to have 3-40 employees in the next year and the average salary is $50,000 to $90,000. So it’s a win-win story. People create good jobs providing broadband to remote areas.

I don’t know what speed we’re talking about here – but it seems to me that for unserved areas wireless broadband is a great deal and for underserved areas, wireless broadband might be just the competition the incumbents need to bump up their own service.

This entry was posted in MN, Open Networks, Rural, Wireless by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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