iBurst unfazed by Whirlpool survey

Personal Broadband Australia, the owners of wireless broadband network iBurst, are unconcerned by a recent Whirlpool survey that found that most people were unwilling to pay the price charged for their wireless broadband service. The survey of 10,335 people asked two questions concerning wireless broadband.

Personal Broadband Australia, the owners of wireless broadband network iBurst, are unconcerned by a recent Whirlpool survey that found that most people were unwilling to pay the price charged for their wireless broadband service.

The survey of 10,335 people asked two questions concerning wireless broadband. The first asked "Is city-wide wireless broadband something you'd find useful?", to which 56.1 percent of respondents answered yes.

The second question concerned how much people would be willing to pay for a "fully mobile, city-wide wireless broadband with a 3 gigabyte download limit", to which only 9.3 percent indicated they would be willing to pay more than AU$100 per month, while only one percent indicated they would be willing to pay the kind of money iBurst charges for its fully mobile broadband service. "Wireless broadband is a technology still in the early stages of growth, and has yet to prove itself in the marketplace," wrote Whirlpool beneath the question.

"If you ask a question like that it's pretty much the sort of answer you're going to get," Jonathan Withers, chief technical officer at PBBA told ZDNet Australia  . He said Whirlpool was not the target market for the fully-mobile iBurst service, which was aimed at corporate executives on the move and will cost at least AU$154.95 for 1GB of data.

Withers stressed the difference between the current iBurst service, which allows you to maintain broadband connectivity while moving at high speeds such as those achieved by vehicles, and "fixed" wireless connectivity which has to remain almost still.

The Whirlpool community are mainly home users or people who wanted a broadband connection but were unable to get one because of their geographical location, according to Withers. Of the respondents to the Whirlpool survey, 53.5 percent said they only used broadband at home and 16.2 percent said they did not have a broadband connection.

iBurst has plans to launch a "fixed wireless broadband" service in February which will be pitched at the price of a DSL connection, "or maybe a little bit above", said Withers.

Withers also said the price of the fully-mobile service was likely to come down in the future.

"It's a general characterisation of services such as this that the long-term trend is for prices to come down," said Withers, saying a higher volume of customers would result in a lower cost per customer. "We've seen in the past that this is what happens."

Personal Broadband Australia (PBBA) today announced a further AU$12 million of equity funding from shareholder Jim Cooney to facility the expansion of the iBurst service along the eastern seaboard. The investment means Cooney is now the majority shareholder of PBBA, and he has also been appointed the new CEO of the company.

Cooney was previously involved in the creation of telecommunications infrastructure company TCI and it's expansion into the UK.

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