Saturday, August 15, 2009

WiMAX Wireless broadband and the National Broadband Network

WiMAX wireless broadband will provide and ADSL2+ equivalent service according to a media release from the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy: "Adelaide blackspots to get high speed broadband". The service will be provided by Adelaide company Adam Internet and subsidised by the government's Australian Broadband Guarantee. However, Adam are only offering up to 12Mbps, whereas ADSL2+ is capable of up to 24 Mbit/s. It would be more accurate to describe the service as similar to ADSL2, which has data rates up to 12 Mbit/s.

WiMax was central to the previous government's plan for broadband ("WiMAX technology supported worldwide", Media Release 84/07, Senator the Hon Helen Coonan, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, 20 June 2007). That plan was overliant on WiMax. However, the technology has advanced in the interim and should provide a useful supplement for other technologies in areas where it is difficult, or uneconomic to lay cable.

The new government's plan to aim for fibre optic cable to most of Australia is a good one, provided you not not assume that it will be achieved. It is more likely that we will have a mix of technologies, with fibre cable in new urban areas, where it can be cost justified. ADSL will remain in use in most areas for the foreseeable future, supplemented by various wireless technologies.

Joint media release

Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

Hon Michael O’Brien MP
Minister for Science and Information Economy

Adelaide blackspots to get high speed broadband

Residents living in broadband blackspot areas across the Adelaide metropolitan area are set to receive a state-of-the-art wireless broadband network.

The network will be jointly funded by the State and Federal governments along with leading Internet Service Provider - Adam Internet - which will deliver the service.

"This investment will deliver high-speed broadband to homes and businesses across Adelaide suburbs in advance of the National Broadband Network," the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy said today.

"Broadband is an important part of family and business life and this project will help ensure more people in metropolitan Adelaide have access to high-speed broadband services," Senator Conroy said.

SA Minister for Science and Information Economy, Michael O’Brien said Adam Internet, a SA based company, had won the contract to construct the network because of its strong track record and position as one of the industry’s leading Internet Service Providers.

"This contract will initially create an extra 110 jobs during the network construction and customer connection phase with 75 permanent jobs required in the longer term for ongoing operation and maintenance," Mr O’Brien said.

"Work will begin almost immediately on addressing more than 350 blackspot locations across Adelaide. First connections are marked for significant problem areas in Reynella and other southern suburbs.

"About 10 per cent of residential, commercial and industrial, properties across metropolitan Adelaide are unable to use ADSL, the most common form of broadband access," Mr O’Brien said.

Adam Internet Chairman, Greg Hicks said the Broadband Blackspot project was terrific news for affected SA households with residents finally being delivered technology solutions comparable with – or better than – those of their neighbours.

"Adam Internet is proud to deliver the first metropolitan roll-out of WiMAX – Adam Max – ensuring these customers receive ADSL2+ equivalent services," Mr Hicks said.

"AdamMax will effectively blanket metropolitan Adelaide, lighting up blackspot areas and providing a service that is fast, reliable and value for money. We are excited to partner with the Federal and State governments to deliver this service."

The 15 month rollout - which will see the first WiMAX service area coming online in October this year - will be supported by an initial $3 million investment from South Australia’s Broadband Development Fund and ongoing contributions from the Commonwealth’s Australian Broadband Guarantee.

"The Rudd Government is making strong progress to deliver the National Broadband Network, but also wants to ensure better services as this historic project is rolled out," Senator Conroy said.

"The Australian Broadband Guarantee helps deliver fast and affordable broadband to people in blackspot areas, as well as increasing competition in the broadband market."

Mr O’Brien said the broadband blackspot initiative would bolster the South Australian economy.

"A study by economics consulting firm, Systems Knowledge Concepts Pty Ltd (SKC) has shown that the economic benefit to the State of this initiative is estimated to be more than $87 million over five years," Mr O’Brien said.

"The State Government’s Information Economy Agenda 2009-2014 paper sets a vision and framework for delivering South Australia’s digital future. The Broadband Blackspot Project will help us to work towards achieving our digital goals," Mr O’Brien said.

For more information on the Federal Government’s Australian Broadband Guarantee Adelaide blackspots to get high speed broadband, Stephen Conroy,Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, 14 August 2009

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