SINCE I LIVE in a rural town in Ireland, I have first-hand experience using several flavours of internet access. It bothers me to hear government ministers gushing enthusiastically about covering Ireland with wireless internet access because I don't think those spokespeople have ever tried to run their official duties using only over-the-air internet services. I have tried to accomplish that feat. I have the bills to prove that I consume more than a gigabyte of data using wireless internet services with O2-Ireland. I have dozens of screen shots that show the kind of speeds I get with the service and if there was such a thing, I would be a member of the Irish Dangling Dongle Society (see O2 dongle at right on my window sill). After years of working over-the-air, I think the Irish government is headed for a massive disappointment with the money it will spend to connect rural areas to broadband.
After If I read the press releases, I get this vision of masts being erected and dongles being sold to people for internet connections. That will not be a good experience for consumers because unless you live in a house with direct line-of-sight coverage of a 3G mast, you will not get a strong data signal. I live just outside Cashel where the locals concsistently shoot down the erection of 3G masts. The nearest 3G site lies a mile away as the crow flies, but the Rock of Cashel blocks the mast from my view. I can get two or three bar coverage by hanging a 3G dongle out a window at least eight metres above the ground floor. I wonder if the Irish government's plan involves erecting 3G antennas all across the landscape. I wonder if the service providers will tell their customers that a strong 3G signal outside does not mean getting anything better than a weak dial-up signal inside a house. That's been my experience, living in homes located more than three miles from local telephone exchanges. You can see the signal on a path outside a structure but you cannot depend on a strong signal while using a USB connection stick when seated at a desk.
I am not complaining about this degraded service because I respect the rights of my neighbours to object to the erection of 3G masts. However, I do object to sweeping statements that those in the Irish government make about providing broadband to everyone through the spending of EUR 235 million. The cows might be able to get the signal while munching at the top of a hill but the farmers should not plan for a future filled with high-speed over-the-air wireless broadband. That kind of vision is a hoax. You cannot ensure blanket coverage through walls, immersion tanks, and rotating electrical appliances by using technology like a 3G dongle attached to a computer or television set.
Evert Bopp -- "National (no-) Broadband Scheme"
Damien Mulley -- "National Broadband Scheme Launch"
Sent mail2blog using O2-EDGE Typepad service with my dongle dangling outside my window.