Australian government news station ABC have an interesting story about "broadband" in the bush. The project is being run out of Wollongong University, co-incidentally my wife's home town. The idea is to set up and ad-hoc mesh network of co-operating nodes.
This is very similar to DaRT, the first commercial project I ever worked on (I designed the system mainboard), where unused nodes could relay data (chiefly telephony) for other nodes. It was previously assumed people in the country were mostly interested in communicating with the city, but in actual fact the majority of communications was local; this pattern is obviously much more suitable to an ad-hoc mesh network.