...It's getting bigger. The digital divide between broadband services in cities and towns and the countryside is getting larger says the BBC today. I know this to be true from talking to some farmers recently. They were complaining about their poor internet connection and how it was directly affecting their business. Farmers who wish to get into direct marketing of their produce need a good internet connection. Part of the Raluy permaculture project in Spain is dedicated to looking into finding a solution for the digital divide by using WiMAX which avoids the need to use prohibitively expensive cable connectivity.
Wimax stands for Worldwide Interoperablity for Microwave Access. It is based on the IEE 802.16 standard, also known as WirelessMAN.
It can provide wireless data over much longer distances than wifi.
In countries with good fixed line infrastructure, WiMAX acts as a filler but in some developing countries is can be the dominant infrastructure for broadband access. Countries such as Pakistan are planning nationwide WiMAX rollouts.
WiMAX can deliver speeds of up to 70Mbps and operate over distances of up to 50km, although not concurrently.
WiMAX has the potential to be a cost effective means for rural communities to get a fast broadband internet connection and could play an important part in rural development.