Australian wholesale wireless broadband provider Personal Broadband Australia (PBA) has signed a deal with VoIP wholesaler iVox to offer ISPs bundled wireless broadband and IP telephony solutions. ‘Through this strategic partnership, iVox will develop an alternative last mile access solution. This wireless option would be utilised where there is no copper connection to the customers’ premises,’ iVox said in a statement. Australia’s incumbent broadband operators have yet to launch bundled VoIP to the mass market, but most of the country’s alternative providers, including Primus, iiNet and Internode have reported strong take-up of the service.
PBA, a wholly owned subsidiary of US-based ArrayComm, won a TDD spectrum licence in March 2001, covering Australia’s state capitals. It launched its wireless broadband network – an end-to-end IP system incorporating TDD technology and supporting PPPoE protocol, designed to deliver data speeds of up to 1Mbps – in Sydney, with Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Canberra following in 2005. PBA claims the network, christened iBurst, was the first of its kind in the world, utilising small packets of 3G spectrum to offer wireless broadband internet access via either a laptop datacard or modem. The datacard delivers up to 1Mbps downlink and 346kbps uplink data rates, with an upgraded 2Mbps/700kbps service scheduled for the next system release. Laptops equipped with built-in Wi-Fi capability can roam seamlessly between iBurst and wireless LANs. The modem offers speeds of up to 1Mbps/346kbps. PBA has wholesale service provision deals with a number of ISPs, including Pacific Internet, T3 and OzEmail/iiNet. In May 2005 it teamed up with SingTel Optus for the latter to market iBurst to its corporate customers.