BigAir delivers WiMAX to Sydney and Melbourne

Wireless broadband operator, BigAir, has launched the first commercial deployment of fixed WiMAX services across Sydney and Melbourne. CEO, Jason Ashton, said it had been planning to roll out WiMAX services for a number of years.

The networks will be deployed using Airspan Networks 5.8GHz MicroMAX base stations able to deliver download speeds of up to 30Mbps. BigAir also offers a point-to-point wireless system that can supply up to 300Mbps access speeds.

"It's an evolution of our pre-WiMAX and propriety systems that we have been using for years. It provides significant benefits to us and our customers," he said. "We chose to work with Airspan because the performance and efficiency of their equipment was second to none. It's based on 802.16d, which is the technology strand we want to build our network around because it's optimized for delivering high-speed, symmetric, business-grade services."

BigAir will be upgrading its existing Sydney network and is deploying a new network in Melbourne that is due to go live next month. Ashton said it was also planning network construction and deployment in Brisbane.

"We are not ruling anything out but we haven't made any firm decisions on other cities at this stage," he said. "We are interested in other capital cities: there is a lot of activity in Perth with their resources boom and we are receiving a lot of interest in Adelaide for symmetric broadband services."

Ashton said the Federal Government's decision to pledge $1 million in public funds to match OPEL's investment into a national wireless broadband network based on WiMAX technology was a great endorsement of its own decision.

"We are ahead of the curve: We certainly didn't turn to WiMAX because OPEL got the nod from the government," he said.