Chariot exits wireless race

Local Internet service provider Chariot is looking to offload its wireless division Omninet, less than 18 months after it first bought the asset. "Chariot has determined that wireless is not a core activity and is divesting its wireless interests through the sale of shares in its wireless subsidiary, Omninet Wireless Pty Ltd, or through the sale of Omninet's assets and business," an advertisement placed by Chariot today said.

Local Internet service provider Chariot is looking to offload its wireless division Omninet, less than 18 months after it first bought the asset.

"Chariot has determined that wireless is not a core activity and is divesting its wireless interests through the sale of shares in its wireless subsidiary, Omninet Wireless Pty Ltd, or through the sale of Omninet's assets and business," an advertisement placed by Chariot today said.

Chariot bought Omninet in October 2005, saying at the time the buy would allow the ISP to escape the need to buy network access for the last leg to customers' premises.

"No longer will we be performance and cost bound by the restrictive nature of this 'last mile' which has historically been the exclusive domain of only the largest telco infrastructure providers," said then Chariot chief executive Robert Horlin-Smith.

Horlin-Smith has since vacated his position, but Chariot's current CEO Garry Hersey was not immediately available to comment on the change in company direction.

Omninet was established in 1999, and provides wireless Internet access through a WiMAX-based network in some areas of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. "The Victorian network core is fibre-based, while in NSW the core is based on high-capacity licensed digital microwave," said Chariot in its ad.

"There is significant opportunity to fully utilise the network in Victoria and New South Wales for carriage and residential broadband customers." Omninet uses Motorola's Canopy hardware platform to provide WiMAX.

When Chariot bought Omninet, the company said it had major clients in Victoria such as Melbourne University, Northeast Water and South Gippsland Water Authorities and Dragnet Internet Services, in addition to consumer-grade customers.

WiMAX technology has long been touted as a replacement communications technology for mobile access. Two major telcos are currently operating and building out large WiMAX-based broadband networks: Unwired and Austar.

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