The ShowME Broadband Project is currently making its way through the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) to receive up to $37,222,917.46 to build out critical infrastructure to deliver high speed broadband Internet to rural Missouri and to build out a reliable high speed public safety network for first responders throughout the coverage area.
Heading the call to action from President Obama to use stimulus dollars to drive what has been considered a necessity of life in the cities to the most rural parts of the nation, Victoria Proffer, President and CEO of St. Louis Broadband, a company with over 7 years of experience in delivering high speed internet services using wireless technology in the St. Louis area, took up the challenge to serve Washington, Saint Francois, Saint Genevieve, Perry, Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Madison, Iron, Wayne, Reynolds, Shannon, Dent, and Texas counties with the same quality high speed broadband Internet access the people of St. Louis enjoy.
While planning this network, Ms. Proffer became aware of the critical lack of public safety infrastructure in many of these counties, two of which are not even equipped with their own 911 emergency service. These counties also lie in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which has the second highest earthquake risk next to the west coast according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA goes on in a November 2008 report to predict that a serious earthquake could cause the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States.
"Compounding this situation, in our proposed coverage area, there are 467 abandoned and working mines. Entire communities are built on these mines. This network will proactively address a potential disaster of a catastrophic nature" Ms. Proffer stated.
ShowME Broadband will utilize the Stimulus dollars and the St. Louis Broadband (stlbroadband.com) expertise in fixed wireless broadband systems to deploy a reliable backbone to public safety agencies, along with a reduced rate for broadband service to anchor intuitions (typically public service buildings such as schools, hospitals, libraries).
Fixed Wireless broadband is a more bang for the buck technology, and has widely been used to provide high speed broadband services to rural areas across the nation. "Our network has been uniquely designed to also take advantage of wind and solar technologies." Ms. Proffer states "We have engineered 195' towers with 22' wind turbines and solar panels to subsidize our utility cost and make rural deployment more affordable."
One of the largest Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP), Mesa Networks based out of Frederick, Colorado, provided service to over 7,500 businesses and households utilizing the Motorola Canopy platform. The owners of Mesa Networks in May of 2008 sold their WISP business to focus on leveraging their experience building the largest Motorola Canopy Wireless Network in the United States to helping other providers build successful networks under the new company name, 3-dB Networks.
3-dB Networks (3-db.net) has been happy to assist the ShowME Broadband Project with this large scale fixed broadband deployment, which will be able to provide service to a footprint of over 112,571 households from over 98 points of presence. "The ShowME Broadband Project has the potential to be a shining example of the type of deployment President Obama encouraged by appropriating these funds to the RUS and NTIA. A high speed broadband network that delivers the service to the most rural of areas, at a much lower price than a Fiber, DSL, or Cable network; utilizing the experience and expertise of two well established Small Businesses. I believe the ShowME Broadband Project will be a game changer in Southeast Missouri," says Daniel White, Technical Sales Manager for 3-dB Networks and a certified Motorola Systems Engineer and Dragonwave Certified Installer. "This network should be able to deliver at a minimum of 3 Mbps downloads to the most rural of areas, and has been engineered to deliver up to 10Mbps symmetrical service to public safety agencies and rural residents. Utilizing a licensed microwave backbone capable of delivering up to 1.6Gbps, this network should be able to bring the same quality high speed broadband access found in most metropolitan areas to rural Missouri."