Last week I attended an NBS meeting in my area which was attended by about 90 people. The usual suspects were at the top table. The boss man of ComReg John Doherty was there together with representatives from 3Ireland and some other dudes. Most of the meeting was taken up by these guys telling us how great 3 was and how great the NBS was but they were not getting the message across to the floor with the result that Doherty was getting more than a little miffed. Because of his west Brit mid Atlantic accent every time he spoke he drew sniggers from certain sections of the crowd.
The guy from 3 was in overdrive telling us how technically advanced the whole shebang was going to be and that they were going to bring us out of the dark ages. Then a funny thing happened .....
A man stood up and asked what the situation was about satellite. The guy from 3 gave a big spiel as to how an English company called Avanti were providing satellite access for 8% of the scheme using a state of the art new satellite which was the dog's boll..
The man from the floor then asked our friend from 3 was he aware that this mighty satellite had not yet been launched and looked unlikely to be launched until at best the end of the year but possible into 2010. The guy from 3 then did a wobbler and lost the head completely with the man on the floor telling him he was talking rubbish etc. and getting more angry by the minute. The fact that this geezer so obviously lost control while on the podium caused everybody in the room to sit up and pay attention as it was obvious that the questioner had touched a nerve. It gets better.
It turns out that the man on the floor was a member of Irish Rural Link and he had all his facts right. (Apparently the organisers were not aware that anybody from Irish Rural Link was in the audience).
Despite the antics of the guy from 3 and the guy from ComReg the man from Irish Rural Link stood his ground and gave them chapter and verse relative to the NBS in general but particularly the satellite aspect of it.
Another guy put the boot into Doherty by explaining that he was an ISP in Kerry and that with the connivance of ComReg Eircom were spending millions on bringing broadband to the Black Valley in Kerry. He said that he could do it for much less except he would have to apply for planning whereas Eircom do not ( this bit I could not understand).
The meeting was chaired by John Murray from Newstalk and at the end of the evening he called for a show of hands relative to confidence in 3 to provide a Nationwide proper broadband service. Out of 90 people 87 voted no !! The three who voted yes were 3 employees !!
I bet this won't be reported on the ComReg site !
I got some interesting information afterwards. Apparently Avanti have been talking about a KA band satellite for the past three years. The satellite will be called Hylos 1 but at this stage apparently is not built yet. Neither have they announced a launch date and neither have they announced where it is being launched from - not exactly instilling confidence in NBS participants.
As I understand it KA band satellites suffer dramatically from rain fade - how will it fare in the West of Ireland ?
Once more it looks like rural Ireland is still not going to get broadband.