Wireless broadband carrier, Access Providers, plans to be the provider of choice for resellers as it constructs what it hopes to be the first WiMax network in Sydney next year.
Access has its own wireless network in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide and it has a network sharing arrangement with Big Air to supply its 40 Sydney-based business customers.
CEO, Keith Ondarchie, said Access wanted to expand its presence in Sydney, making it the logical place to start building a WiMax network
"It is largely for the reseller market that we are constructing this network," he said. "We predict that organisations will be releasing all kinds of devices with WiMax chips in them in the next few years. In fact, we believe almost every device will have a WiMax chip in it, which means resellers will need to be connected to a WiMax network.
"That is one of the strongest reasons we have decided to move now, so we can be ready for the WiMax devices. There will be Telstra - which is trying to keep its network away from wholesale partners, which I understand, and then there will be a Wireless WiMax network, which we will be ours if we are there first."
Ondarchie said resellers needed to start being educated by the industry so they could begin to see the opportunities that WiMax would make available to them.
"From a reseller perspective you can only imagine all the new applications that businesses will suddenly be needing and wanting," he said.
Deployment of the new network is due to start in February 2006, and Access Providers expects to be connecting customers by June next year. It will be based on the fixed WiMax standard, 802.16-2004, ratified by the IEEE in 2004. All capital expenditure will be funded by internal cash reserves, according to the company.
WiMax is a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL. It will provide fixed, nomadic, portable and, eventually, mobile wireless broadband connectivity without the need for direct line-of-sight with a base station.
Although Access Providers is constructing a fixed network, Ondarchie said it might be possible to offer mobile WiMax down the track.
"There are a lot of claims by software vendors that we will be able to convert the fixed wireless standard into a mobile one with a software upgrade," he said."I'm not entirely sure that is true, and it will probably be late 2007 by the time that is proven either way."
Despite Access Providers claims to be first with WiMax in Sydney, Unwired said it was well placed to move easily to the WiMax standard when the standard is ratified.
According to CTO Eric Hamilton it is simply a slight software and hardware modification in the wireless towers to make it WiMax enabled.