Internode has begun connecting customers to its high speed national network, becoming the first Australian broadband company to deliver a regional, wireless broadband service using WiMax.
Internode has several installation teams working on the Yorke Peninsula, west of Adelaide, to connect more than 200 people who have ordered broadband through the federal government's Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) program.
Many of these people live too far from a telephone exchange to get ADSL-based broadband.
Through a network of 10 WiMax base stations using the 3.4 gigahertz licensed spectrum, Internode is achieving transmission speeds as fast as six megabits per second at distances as far as 30km from the tower, as long as good line of sight is available.
Internode's first commercial WiMax customer, farmer Ted Buttfield, who was connected to the network this week, said it is a big improvement on dial-up.
Internode is using WiMax wireless broadband technology throughout the Yorke Peninsula to connect customers who are beyond the reach of "wired" ADSL services, which are limited by telephone line quality and distance from the telephone exchange.
The company's managing director Simon Hackett said its proof WiMax worked perfectly using licensed spectrum.
He said Internode has already taken delivery of more than 150 Airspan WiMax CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) radios, which use the latest Rosedale chips from Intel.
"Each device is mounted on a mast at the customer's site, delivering line-of-site connectivity to an Internode base station," he said.
Internode surveyors use mobile WiMax equipment at the customer site to identify the optimal configuration, including the necessary radio height, to achieve the required broadband performance.
"This customised configuration is then assembled offsite, so it can be quickly and easily installed at the customer's premises, with minimal adjustment," Hackett said.
Internode is also considering the expansion of its new WiMax network into the Coorong region, south east of Adelaide.
- with Sandra Rossi