iBurst wireless broadband lifts off in Sydney

Wireless broadband wholesaler Personal Broadband Australia officially launched its iBurst wireless network in Sydney on Tuesday, following three years of development, testing and trials.

The iBurst technology, which was originally developed by US company Arraycom, employs smart antenna technology to deliver IP-based Internet services across the 5GHz unpaired radio spectrum band.

The Personal Broadband iBurst network, the first of its kind in the world, now covers 200km2 across Sydney. The network promises end users download speeds of up to 1Mbps.

At the Personal Broadband launch event in Sydney, CEO and chairman Jim Cooney said the provider plans to launch its service in Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane later this year, with a full national roll-out slated for 2005.

He added the technology roadmap for the iBurst service has the expansion potential to achieve speeds of 4Mbps and 8Mbps per user “not too far down the track”.

Personal Broadband also announced Tuesday that it had formalised its commercial distribution relationship with ISP OzEmail to resell the iBurst service.

Late last year, OzEmail managing director Trevor Duff told IDG the ISP would launch a wireless service based on the iBurst product in 2004.

OzEmail has played an ongoing part in the development of the iBurst service in Australia. The ISP was closely involved in the development of the iBurst consortium with Arraycom, Vodafone, TCI and 3Com in 2002, and also participated in phase one roll-out of the service in Sydney last year.

Commenting on the distribution deal with Personal Broadband on Tuesday, Duff said the expansion of wireless broadband is bridging the gap between the broadband “haves and have-nots”.

"Customers on the move and those previously unable to connect to broadband due to unavailability of DSL or cable in their neighbourhoods will no longer be disadvantaged," he said.

Prices for the OzEmail wireless broadband service will be finalised in the next couple of months.

Other distributors already signed up to on-sell the Personal Broadband iBurst service include Mobile Broadband, SecureTel and Veritel.

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