Thursday, April 19, 2012

Broadband Internet in the Archipelago

I've been using a 3G wireless connection out at our house for a few years now. A little wi-fi hotspot above the fridge rebroadcasts the signal through the house so we can enjoy the internet on our iDevices. It works pretty well, although it's not that fast and is a bit fiddly. If I want to rent a movie on iTunes, for example, we have to decide in the morning, as the downloading takes all day! But it does work well enough, and it is pretty cool to have wi-fi out in the middle of an island. In fact, let's face it, it's not just cool. Internet access is pretty much a necessity if one is away for a number of weeks.

I recently received info about a plan to bring fibre-optic internet out to our archipelago. The Swedish government wants to have super-fast (100mps!) access to 90% of the country by 2020. There is money available for rural communities to apply for assistance in providing such service. As best as I can read, we in the Nämdö archipelago are being asked to join a broadband 'club' which will then apply to the government for assistance in providing access to our island.

The good news: internet that fast could open up a whole bunch of possibilities for living out on Aspö. I could easily have a few webcams set up to check on the house, the weather, and the moose. Heck, I could have a little weather station giving info on the conditions in real-time (I will admit I've already checked into that.) And a stable internet connection that fast would being all sorts of entertainment and even work opportunities out to our house.

The bad news: cost. It looks like being a member of the broadband club would cost about 15,000-20,000 kronor ($2000-3000), plus about 3000kr ($500) for the wiring and who knows how much for the monthly fees. And of course, there is the encroachment of the outside world into our little idyll that such technology would bring.

I've registered my interest formally with the club, and already received a charming reply from the organizing group on Nämdö. There's no commitment to do so, for now at least, and it seems from the documents that joining now would guarantee us access at a much lower price than adding it later. I would think that having it might increase the value of our property, too.

More news as this progresses.

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