Satellite Based Internet Connectivity
Alan Escovitz, Bob Dixon, and Gabe Moulton from Ohio State University presented their work on using satellite based internet connectivity.
AE introduced the work that has focused on Appalachian Ohio. He outlined a case in which rural poor users were significantly less served than were suburban or urban users. Compared broadband penetration among 30 OECD countries between 2000 and 2005. Has the 4th highs level of students who have never used a computer among OECD countries. Income and poverty are the most significant determinants.
They work in the CIO of the University; their efforts are part of the Land Grant mission and they seek â€śrural dataficationâ€? comparable with the rural electrification efforts of the 1930s. There efforts reach both individuals and businesses in the area. The concept of â€śhomesourcingâ€? as a employment reason to stay in the area.
Bob Dixon described the geo-synchronous satellite system used; they install 3 foot satellite dishes in small communities. They donate their time; much equipment is built by Dixon. Access is provided through ADEC for about $350 a month for service. Grants are sought for about $10,000 in hardware costs. Community buy-in is exceptionally important; provide the space for equipment, location for antenna, location for community learning center, etc. They do not serve communities with existing high speed service. Their installations have encouraged private companies to provide service in their earlier sites. He discussed some of the details of installation.
Gabe Moulton Each of the installations are specific to the local community, including connecting with the existing structure. They tested and mapped the entire signal field, for recommendation for antennas for more remote computers. Included with town installation, they have learning centers with donated computers. He also described the hacks theyâ€™ve done on common Linksys wireless routers.
Escovitz Said that Ohio is losing participation in higher education, in spite of a larger general population and a larger high school graduate population. This is a key component of the larger educational mission. They partner with other colleges and universities in Ohio for local support. They also work with MindLeaders, a private company with training modules that will be provided free to residents in program areas. Ohio Learning Network will also provide training through the learning center installed with the satellite system.
2005 Carnege-Mellon/MIT study on broadbandâ€™s economic impact is consistent with anecdotal evidence from their previous work in Chesterhill, Ohio [finished July 2005]. Employment growth of 1% found, and business activity increases about Â˝%. [Link active to PDF of research report.]
Their goal is to serve as a model for other land grant institutions; they may be the sole institution that does this nationwide. It also provides a stimulus for the private sector, and improves the quality of life in the affected communities. One of the questions that was raised was of cost and service by satellite provider. Ezscovitz described a transition from first year costs of $4000 to the town per year to a cooperative utility model.