Telekom Austria’s domestic unit A1 is taking part in an ambitious project to bring mobile broadband access to some of the remotest parts of Europe.
The Austrian telco is cooperating with the Austrian and German Alpine associations to install wireless LAN (WLAN) technology in 600 remote mountain huts, starting in the Tux Alps and in the Karwendel mountains.
The company added that the investment costs will just be a “few hundred euros”, and will involve the installation of outdoor antennas to boost LTE signals from LTE base stations nearby as well as a "special modem" for WLAN access within the hut.
A1 Sat Internet will then be used in regions where not even an outdoor antenna can ensure adequate signal strength from base stations. A small parabolic antenna is used to provide Internet access via satellite.
The move forms part of A1’s objective to provide mobile broadband coverage throughout Austria, which has a challenging terrain. In July, the operator said it was investing some €500 million ($561 million) in 2016 to extend Internet coverage in urban and rural areas, upgrading both its fixed net Internet and LTE networks.
A1 is also making use of hybrid boost technology to further boost speeds to up to 100 Mbps and meet the growing demand for broadband services from Austrian households.
Marcus Grausam, CTO of A1, noted that the operator has been forced to look at unconventional methods to tackle Austria’s “formidable topography” and address the growing need for Internet access in far-flung corners of the country.
"The construction of conventional base stations in uninhabited areas is often uneconomical and also often not possible for practical reasons, as suitable access roads and the power supply are a problem. For serviced mountain huts, however, access to the Internet and to the telephone network is extremely important, be it for sending messages to friends, obtaining the latest weather reports or contacting the rescue services in an emergency," said Grausam.
- see this A1 release