Optus extends wireless broadband trial

Optus is extending its trial of wireless broadband to the business market, but is still yet to commit to a full commercial rollout.OptusNet managing director Bill Hope said today the company would deliver a wireless broadband connection to trial business customers via a base station on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Optus is extending its trial of wireless broadband to the business market, but is still yet to commit to a full commercial rollout.

OptusNet managing director Bill Hope said today the company would deliver a wireless broadband connection to trial business customers via a base station on the Gold Coast in Queensland. The telecommunications company is partnering with hardware vendor Siemens to deliver the service.

"There are businesses in Australia -- big and small -- which currently do not have access to broadband via cable or DSL and are still relying on dial-up speeds which can affect their competitive performance," Hope said this morning. "Businesses without access to broadband are unable to use advanced applications...or experience the reliability and quality of an enterprise broadband connection using IP networking".

The trial is expected to to start in mid-2005 and last for about six months. It follows on from a consumer-focused trial which Optus commenced in December last year. That trial was based in the western Sydney suburb of Belmore and conducted in partnership with UTStarcom.

OptusNet would face tough competition if it proceeds with a commercial rollout. Wireless broadband incumbents iBurst and Unwired are already attracting consumers and expanding their networks.

Telstra BigPond also has a network of wireless hotspots throughout metropolitan centres.

iBurst has been in the Sydney market since early 2004, and recently launched in Melbourne. Unwired -- which launched in Sydney in mid-2004 -- has signed up almost 6,000 new subscribers in the last two months and took 17 percent of all new residential broadband subscribers in the second half of the year.