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IDC, ACMA: Wireless broadband won't hurt NBN

IDC, ACMA: Wireless broadband won't hurt NBN

ACMA chairman labels naysayers who believe take-up will damage the National Broadband Network as being 'grossly simplistic'

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and IDC have rejected any notion of accelerated wireless broadband adoption hurting the National Broadband Network.

According to the shadow minister for broadband, Tony Smith, ACMA’s reports of a 162 per cent rise in local wireless broadband take-up proved the Rudd Government was moving recklessly on the NBN.

“As these figures show, Australians are choosing flexibility and mobility in their communications over fixed services in increasing numbers,” he said in a statement. “This evidence from Senator Conroy’s own agency highlights the utter recklessness of the Rudd Government in committing to the NBN without any semblance of cost benefit analysis.”

ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman, said the spectacular rise of wireless broadband usage would continue through 2010.

“There’s a perfect storm of positive dynamics that must, in my mind, continue the trendline,” he said. But Chapman dismissed any notion of wireless broadband stealing potential customers from the NBN or making it less viable.

“It’s a proposition I don’t agree with. I think they’re highly complementary and people who make those statements are being grossly simplistic and have no feel for the physics that underline the different architectures of both,” he said.

While the impact of wireless broadband on the NBN was worth analysing, IDC program manager for telecommunications, David Cannon, agreed with ACMA.

“It’s a good question and there are two perspectives in the market. When you speak to the mobile players, they’ll tell you everything is going mobile,” he said. “But the fact is the majority of connections are still overwhelmingly landline-based and wireless broadband is mostly being used in tandem.

“The amount of data being consumed is increasing exponentially. At the end of the day from a physics perspective, you’re just not going to be able to beat a fixed-line connection when you’re comparing it to fibre-to-the-home solutions.

“By the time they get around to rolling out an NBN, the bandwidth requirements are going to exceed that of what mobile is going to be able to deliver.”


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