We are looking to expand our service in to new areas in rural Auckland. Our service is transmitted wirelessly, so we need to place hubs in select locations that have a good view of other properties in the neighbourhood in order to bring you and your neighbours faster broadband. If you are interested in hosting a hub and you have a property or land that overlooks other properties, then continue reading...
If your property overlooks or is overlooked by other houses or businesses in any direction, we would like to discuss hosting an Ionica hub.
You've probably already been contacted by us or have received a flyer indicating that we are interested in hosting a hub on your property. This is because we believe your property would be a potential location where we could place our hub and extend our service in to your neighbourhood. In return we will provide you with our high-end unlimited broadband package for free.
The first question we get asked is what the Ionica hub looks like. In a rural setting it's difficult to give an exact description because it will vary depending on the location of the land or property.
Generally speaking, if we are servicing a small community from a remote location without any power then we will need to install a small mast and solar panels, much like those shown in the pictures above. If we are serving a larger population, then the site may be bigger to accommodate more antennas, but the principle will be the same.
If we are able to locate our hub on your property, such as on a barn, grain silo, or house, then we may not need any mast or supporting framework, nor any solar panels. We will attach the antennas directly to the building and connect to your mains power.
We try to blend our installations with the surroundings by using natural looking materials (such as wood frames), or paint the installation to match the bush or building. Some items we can't paint however, such as the solar panels.
The second question we get asked is what you need to do to run the hub. In short, nothing - we will do everything. Infact, it's a requirement of ours that you don't do anything to the equipment. We just need your permission to use your property to host the hub.
Although not mandatory, we do ask that you keep an eye out for any obvious issues such as damage, wear and tear, or notify us if there is a power outage. None-the-less, our operations centre continually monitors the equipment and power status, so we will be automatically notified if there is a service impacting issue.
We do require you to commit to at least 2 years of hosting the hub. Ideally, we'd like to extend the agreement on an ongoing basis for many years.
The third, and arguably most important, question we get asked is what will you get out of the arrangement. In return for hosting a hub we will provide you with our high speed unlimited broadband service free of charge. We also cover the cost of electricity used by the equipment (approx. $75 per year).
Although the equipment is self managing, there may be circumstances where we need to visit the property to perform maintenance on the hub. We need to stress that these are normally quite rare and are only necessary when there is an issue we can't resolve remotely. For example, if there is a fault with the equipment, or if there is an extended power failure that has depleted the batteries.
All maintenance can be performed from the outside, so we don't need access to the inside of any buildings. We will always notify you if we need to make a maintenance visit and we will take care not to disturb the local residents or animal life.
If you wish to host a rural hub, the next steps are as follows:
The whole process from start to end typically takes 1-2 weeks depending on any external factors. Remote / rural locations may take longer due to additional construction and access requirements.
The pictures above give a reasonable idea of what a rural hub looks like. When installed in a field with solar panels it usually takes up 2-4m2 and is built using wood or a light weight metal frame. When installed on a building or structure, then just the antenna components are present and these are attached directly to the exterior of the property.
The antennas are typically white in colour, however we can paint them to blend in with the surroundings. The same goes for the frame and enclosure boxes, but unfortunately we can't paint any solar panels or wind generator if present.
The height of the installation will depend on the environment and coverage we're trying to achieve. For example, if we need to clear the tops of adjacent trees then we may need to build above those trees, which could be 10-15m high. Generally though, we try to pick sites that have no foliage, or just low-level bush so the mast only needs to be 2-3m off the ground.
Also, please don't turn off the power to the equipment without first contacting us.
The antenna emits about the same low level of radio signal that your broadband router, laptop, or tablet emits. It's therefore safe to be near the antennas.