NBN to save WiMax in Australia?

NBN to save WiMax in Australia?

Intel claims the Government NBN initiative is an avenue to increase adoption of the technology

Plans to connect the nation with the Government-owned National Broadband Network (NBN) is a big opportunity for WiMax technology, according to Intel.

Intel vice-president of sales and marketing and general manager of Intel Asia-Pacific, Navin Shenoy, said the vendor believed WiMax was the optimal format for reaching regional areas within Australia, and claimed fibre channel, or other technologies, would be prohibitively expensive.

"We've started having some discussions with the Government around this," Shenoy said. "From what I understand of the stimulus package, the intent was to cover both cities as well as rural areas, and I think as they go through the details of what it will take in terms of technology to cover those rural areas, they will need a highly efficient and low-cost solution.

"We feel the WiMax is the best option in that scenario."

Last year, Frost & Sullivan analyst, Marc Einstein, predicted the Asia-Pacific region will have as many as 43 million WiMax subscribers by the end of 2013 and generate revenues of $US11 billion at a compound annual growth rate of 45 per cent from 2007-2013. However, Australia was expected to make up just two per cent of that subscriber base.

Intel disagreed with this prediction, Shenoy said, who pointed to other developed nations with a commitment to WiMax as examples.

“The US, Japan and Korea are all developed nations, and all have made a commitment to WiMax and are developing WiMax pretty aggressively," he said. "Why is that? Because true personal global broadband is impossible with any other technology at the moment. You cannot get upload and download at reasonable 2Mbps speeds with any other technology that exists today. Consumers want to have it.

"The developed nations will adopt it for mobile broadband reasons, and the developing countries will adopt it just for broadband, not necessarily mobile broadband. In both cases, WiMax has a good proposition, and we're seeing good traction. These things do take time to get properly ingrained."

Shenoy also pointed to the adoption of Wi-Fi technology as a case for confidence in WiMax.

"I remember lots of sceptics about Wi-Fi in 2002. Three years later, I can't think of a single notebook that doesn't have Wi-Fi technology built-in, and most hotels, coffee shops and airports, for example, offer the technology," he said.

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