The government has denied that Australia's bush broadband network will be put at risk of interference from common households gadgets -- such as microwave ovens.
Communications Minister Helen Coonan was quizzed by the Opposition over whether WiMax users will find their signal affected by electrical items which share the same 5.8GHz spectrum band as the wireless broadband network, such as cordless phones, automatic garage doors and microwave ovens.
...they will not have to stop surfing the Internet when they are microwaving their meat pies?
Gavin Marshall, Labor
This was in response to a question from Labor senator Gavin Marshall, who asked: "Aren't Australians living in rural and regional areas entitled to an assurance that they will not have to stop surfing the Internet when they are microwaving their meat pies?"
Coonan rejected the idea that a typical rural Australian home would be filled with potentially interference-causing gadgets -- "It will be diverting, to say the least, to see how many automatic garage doors there are on very large rural properties," she said -- but went on to add that interference will not be an issue in the spectrum OPEL, who will build Australia's WiMax network, will be using.
The minister has also examined how the network might be affected by rival wireless broadband operators. "The Australian Communications and Media Authority, ACMA, has provided advice that interference is in fact a minimal issue in rural areas at the point where OPEL would be using it because there are fewer operators, which is logical when you think about it," she continued.
OPEL, a joint venture between Optus and Elders, is looking into buying licensed spectrum, which will enable its WiMax service to be guaranteed free of interference. Currently, several spectrum bands -- including 2.3Ghz and 3.5Ghz -- are licensed in Australia to Austar and Unwired.