Internode has started connecting customers to its high speed national network, becoming the first Australian broadband company to deliver a region-wide, wireless broadband service using WiMAX.
Internode has several installation teams working on the Yorke Peninsula, west of Adelaide, to connect more than 200 people who have ordered broadband through the Federal Government’s Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) program. Many of these people live too far from a telephone exchange to get ADSL-based broadband.
Through a network of 10 WiMAX base stations using the 3.4 gigahertz licensed spectrum, Internode is achieving transmission speeds as fast as six megabits per second at distances as far as 30km from the tower, as long as good line of sight is available.
Internode’s first commercial WiMAX customer, farmer Ted Buttfield, who was connected to the Internode network on Monday, January 21, said Internode’s WiMAX broadband service was terrific. “Compared to the dial-up service we’ve had until now, it is wonderful,” he said.
“We use the Internet for many things including Internet banking, which was painful over a dial-up connection. My wife used to get very frustrated with the length of time it took to get through the security mode. Even something simple, like downloading Norton upgrades, could take an hour and a half, with dropouts. Last night, it took us only minutes.
“One thing we are looking forward to is using Internode’s NodePhone service. We have a son who lives in Melbourne, so I reckon that will save us a few dollars in telephone calls.
“Internode has been extremely helpful. I have nothing but praise for them as they’ve bent over backwards for us. I think a lot of people here are putting their hands up for broadband. If you go to the pub, or meetings of the Progress Association, broadband is a topic of conversation at every meeting.”
Internode is using WiMAX wireless broadband technology throughout the Yorke Peninsula to connect customers who are beyond the reach of “wired” ADSL services, which are limited by telephone line quality and distance from the telephone exchange.
Internode managing director Simon Hackett said Internode’s experience demonstrated that WiMAX worked perfectly using licensed spectrum. “With WiMAX equipment installed on 10 of our towers, we are providing virtually 100 per cent coverage of the Yorke Peninsula,” he said.
“With good line of sight, we are achieving speeds as fast as six megs per second at distances up to 30km from the base station. This is not a theoretical result – it’s a real world outcome. All of our base station equipment is now installed, so it’s just a matter of setting up equipment at our customers’ premises. We have two surveyors and four installation teams on the road to make sure we can get the equipment deployed as quickly as possible.
“For people on the Yorke Peninsula, the beauty is that they pay no more than Internode customers living in metropolitan areas because of the Australian Broadband Guarantee subsidy.”
Internode has already taken delivery of more than 150 Airspan WiMAX CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) radios, which use the latest Rosedale chips from Intel. Each device is mounted on a mast at the customer’s site, delivering line-of-site connectivity to an Internode base station.
Internode surveyors use mobile WiMAX equipment at the customer site to identify the optimal configuration, including the necessary radio height, get achieve the required broadband performance. This customised configuration is then assembled offsite, so it can be quickly and easily installed at the customer’s premises, with minimal adjustment.
Internode is also considering the expansion of its new WiMAX network into the Coorong region, south east of Adelaide, to enhance its existing pre-WiMAX wireless broadband network in that area. Internode already holds spectrum licenses for WiMAX deployment in the Coorong region.
The Coorong and Yorke Peninsula network projects were strongly backed by the Coorong District Council and District Council of Yorke Peninsula and underpinned by the SA State Government’s Broadband Development Fund.