Intel wants WiMax for rural NBN

Intel said today that it would approach the Federal Government about using WiMax for the 10 per cent of the population in rural areas who won't benefit from the government's $43 billion fibre-to-the-home network.

Intel said today that it would approach the Australian government about using WiMax for the 10 per cent of the population in rural areas who won't benefit from the government's $43 billion fibre-to-the-home network.

"We'll be talking to the Australian Government about what we think WiMax can offer," the chipmaker's Asia-Pacific vice president and general manager of its sales and marketing group Navin Shenoy told press at Intel's annual partner conference at the Gold Coast today.

He wasn't concerned that there were already established carriers which were providing coverage with 3G for up to 99 per cent of the population.

"There's a big difference between 3G and WiMax. WiMax tends to be two to three times faster," he said. "WiMax is meant for the internet. If you want voice, 3G is great."

He scoffed about plans to move to the rival long term evolution (LTE) mobile technology. "LTE is on paper today so we'll see. WiMax is here now, so we see no reason to wait," he said. He pointed out there were many countries who were rolling out or had WiMax, including the US, Korea, Russia and Taiwan.

Shanoy believed that broadband was extremely important for Intel and the IT industry. "Every time you've seen a broadband spike ... it had a huge benefit on the IT industry in terms of products that had to be developed, in terms of performance of computers," he said. "The Australian Government should be applauded," he said.

Suzanne Tindal travelled to the Gold Coast as a guest of Intel.