iBurst bursts into Melbourne

iBurst made its public debut in Melbourne this morning, grabbing the attention of commuters and other passers-by with free coffee in a temporary Internet café set up on busy Southbank.Although Melbourne operations began in late 2004 with a soft launch covering the CBD and a corridor out to the airport aimed at customers visiting from Sydney, the public launch follows the expansion of the network to cover an area of approximately 1000 square kilometres, said CEO Jim Cooney.

iBurst made its public debut in Melbourne this morning, grabbing the attention of commuters and other passers-by with free coffee in a temporary Internet café set up on busy Southbank.

Although Melbourne operations began in late 2004 with a soft launch covering the CBD and a corridor out to the airport aimed at customers visiting from Sydney, the public launch follows the expansion of the network to cover an area of approximately 1000 square kilometres, said CEO Jim Cooney.

Around 1.9 million Melbournians live within the serviced area, he added.

The planned rollout during 2005 will cover almost the entire metropolitan area. iBurst provides "quality coverage [and] reliable service," said Cooney. Around half of iBurst users treat it as a true mobile service, connecting through five or more base stations in a day.

For the rest, it provides broadband connectivity where fixed-line services are available. Major customers include banks (especially for mobile lenders or audit teams) and consulting and legal firms with staff working at clients' premises.

"It's a very easy equation," said Cooney: if a firm charges AU$200 per hour for a consultant's time, saving 15 minutes per month covers the cost of an iBurst connection. Sold through a range of resellers including retailers and ISPs, the service is available in various packages starting at AU$34.95 per month using a desktop modem or AU$49.95 using a notebook modem (excluding hardware costs).

The speed is a notional 1Mbps, but some plans limit it to 512 or 256Kbps, or to 64Kbps after a volume limit is reached.

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