Friday, June 29, 2007

Australia Connected | Australia Readies Gov’t-Backed Broadband | By Eric Griffith | June 28, 2007

Alvarion is happy to report today that the Australian government is pushing WiMax as a tech for its Federal Government Broadband Connect project. The initiative aims to provide broadband service to everyone in the country, even in rural areas. OPEL Networks, a joint venture of Optus and Elders (a rural service provider), will be running the project.

Israel-based Alvarion is happy with the news because it is likely to be the equipment provider for the project; it was involved in 18 months of evaluation with OPEL, in trials used to win the bid.

The network is called Australia Connected, and is expected to cost AU$1.9 billion (US$1.6 billion), with the government splitting the cost with OPEL almost 50/50 (the government will pay $958 million). Eventually, the network will stretch across 638,000 square kilometers (246,333 square miles), over all of Australia’s territories, consisting of 1,300 WiMax sites, each covering 20 km, in addition to a lot of ADSL2+ installations. That includes 15,000 km (9,320 miles) of fiber-optic backhaul. OPEL is promising speeds around 6 Megabits per second to users, to be upgraded to 12 Mbps by 2009. Optus and Elders will separately sell the broadband service at retail. (...)

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