Wireless networks will not hinder the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) ambitions, according to Optus CEO, Paul O’Sullivan.
Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had used Telstra’s impending LTE 4G rollout to argue wireless broadband is a better alternative than a fixed national fibre broadband network; a point he has pushed since he took over the Coalition's communications portfolio last year.
But many industry representatives have claimed while wireless Internet can offer fast theoretical download speeds for consumers, it is a shared medium so the more users log onto a network, the slower the speeds would be. More base stations will need to be built to accommodate for an influx of users which will need to be connected up with fibre anyway.
Nonetheless, the popularity of wireless Internet is on the rise due to increasing demand for mobility through devices such as smartphones and tablets.
At the MediaConnect Kickstart 2011 event in the Gold Coast, O’Sullivan said he saw wireless as a complementary technology to an ubiquitous fixed-line network.
“What I have learnt from working in this industry is the utility of what we provide is so powerful and the more you make it available to people the more they are going to use it,” he said. “So I have every confidence that if we have an NBN and we have very fast wireless technologies, people will use both.”
Wireless and fixed-line fibre broadband should not be pitted against each other like enemies, he said.
“I don’t actually see it as a case that there is such a finite demand [for capacity] that one will suffer because of the other,” according to O’Sullivan. “In time, the two networks will operate very much in sync with each other.”
Demand for capacity is on the rise and O’Sullivan used the Southern Cross International link, part owned by Optus, to stress this point. The link has smashed all capacity expectations as users consume more and more content.
O’Sullivan said Optus had given a lot of thought on how to give customers a seamless broadband experience from home to the external environment through a private fixed line service and a public wireless network.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter