Community bands together to support Kangaroo Valley Wireless Broadband

BETTER INTERNET: KVBN creator John Sinclair (left) and supporter Peter Botsman. Photo: Madeline Crittenden.
BETTER INTERNET: KVBN creator John Sinclair (left) and supporter Peter Botsman. Photo: Madeline Crittenden.

Fed up with unreliable internet, a Kangaroo Valley resident is set to begin a new network to better service the township. 

John Sinclair runs a small internet service provider, and is the first person people call when their internet fails in Kangaroo Valley. 

Mr Sinclair has seen the frustration towards the NBN firsthand and has decided to do something about it. 

“The NBN has been and gone here in Kangaroo Valley, it doesn’t have a good track record and people are just fed up,” he said. 

“Only some people in the valley have access to the NBN and a large number of residents only have access to satellite services.”

The practical solution, according to Mr Sinclair, is the Kangaroo Valley Broadband Network (KVBN), which has been a dream of his for the past 12 years. 

The KVBN is a wireless broadband network designed to ensure high quality broadband is available to households and business in all of the pockets and corners of Kangaroo Valley.

“I’d always had the idea to create [the network], but funding was an issue,” Mr Sinclair said. 

Mr Sinclair’s friend Peter Botsman then suggested Mr Sinclair use crowdfunding to kickstart the project. 

“I’ve had my own business here since 1996 and I am just desperate for decent internet,” Mr Botsman said. 

“This is a project that can only benefit the community and I want to see it succeed.” 

Under the project, up to 10 or 12 new towers would be installed, and would give access to 90 per cent of residents in Kangaroo Valley. 

The towers would be linked via radio over Cambewarra Mountain to Nowra where a fibre optic connection would link the Valley to the core internet in Sydney.

Once the larger network is established Kangaroo Valley Broadband Network would deploy micro-pops, very small towers, to serve those “nooks and crannies” that are really out of the way.

Mr Sinclair said the Kangaroo Valley Broadband Network would be a fast and low latency network, and would be solar powered.

“That will mean the network won’t go down if there is a black-out, which happens quite a lot here in Kangaroo Valley,” Mr Sinclair said. 

The budget of KVBN relies on the monthly income from a minimum of 120 subscribers.

With this number of supporters the network can be established, maintained and improved.

Mr Botsman said the response to the project so far had only been positive. 

“We had 10 per cent of our supporters within the first four days,” he said. “People really want to see this happen.”

Mr Sinclair said the KVBN was an investment in the community. 

“All the money made from the KVBN will stay right here in Kangaroo Valley,” he said. 

”I will also use a local electrician for the installation so there’s potential for it to create more jobs in the village.” 

Mr Sinclair also said the KVBN would improve tourism in Kangaroo Valley. 

“The Kangaroo Valley Chamber of Tourism and Commerce has said they will get free internet going in the township when the KVBN is in place,” he said. 

“This would mean people would be more inclined to stop here, have a coffee, look at the shops and use the internet for whatever they need,” he said. 

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