In what could be either the best or worst news for student productivity, uni students at three Australian campuses are getting online thanks to a dedicated wireless network from BigAir and Star-Tech Communications.
The fully managed service will be run by Star-Tech and is available to students residing in campus accommodation at Sydney's Macquarie University, RMIT University in Melbourne and Griffith University in Queensland.
The wireless services, which have been online since the start of semester, cost an average of $40 a month and come with an included 10GB of download capacity, Star-Tech manager of marketing and strategic relationships, Jean Morel, said. Plans come in both unlimited pre-paid and post-paid Internet access packages, with connectivity of up to 10Mbps.
Although a traditional supplier of communications infrastructure to universities, Star-Tech only succeeded against several rival integrators because competing suppliers were unable to provide broadband services to the campuses in a timely and cost efficient manner, Morel said.
This was only made possible as BigAir's carrier-grade wireless broadband network was able to install the high-speed broadband connection within just a few days, he said. The alternative broadband solution offered by copper or fibre-optic infrastructure greatly increased both setup times and costs.
"When it came to who was going to supply our backhaul data, BigAir well and truly came up trumps and far surpassed any other provider out there in price, deliverables, and timeframe," he said.
Morel claimed the costs were so low that they rendered Telstra fibre installs as "completely ridiculous".
"The set-up costs at each site for the wireless broadband tail, which is an uncontended [sic] and private tail connection for Star-Tech, are under $1000. This saves the students more than 40 per cent on data charges," he said. "If you wanted to do a similar thing with fibre, it would cost many thousands of dollars more."
At each site, Star-Tech has installed a dedicated wireless tail end from BigAir so students can enjoy high-speed internet and a fully managed service including billing, online subscription and help desk services.