The OpenGate: FX consortium bidding for a NZ$285m contract to deploy a broadband network in rural New Zealand will use the same wireless technology as vividwireless in Australia.
The consortium – made up of Kordia, Woosh and fibre operator FX – finally published details of its bid today as speculation intensified that an announcement from the NZ Government was imminent.
A rival bid by Telstra and Vodafone has been flagged by several reports as the frontrunner.
OpenGate: FX said it would use a combination of fibre and "4G wireless technology" to deliver a minimum 10 Mbps to 83 percent of rural New Zealand "for as low as $60 a month".
"We are offering 10 Mbps at better prices than in the cities today - not an 'up to' offer," Kordia chief Geoff Hunt said.
About 67 percent of users could get speeds over 20 Mbps and rural schools would get 100 Mbps fibre connections.
The consortium claimed today it could deliver services within two years.
FX said it would roll out 7,700 kilometres of new fibre, which would be supplemented by the company's existing intercity fibre network and be "available to other network operators on an open access basis, and at prices more competitive than those of incumbent fibre operators".
Kordia and Woosh – who collectively make up the OpenGate portion of the consortium – said they would deploy 506 radio access base stations operating in 70 MHz of spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band.
The design of the wireless portion included inputs from Australia's vividwireless, which runs a WiMAX network in several cities and is currently trialling an upgrade path to Long Term Evolution (LTE) using Huawei technology.
Vividwireless chief Martin Mercer told iTnews that Woosh staff "had a look at what we were doing in Perth with WiMax" and that vividwireless had also sent some of its staff to New Zealand to "talk about our experience and the performance we were getting over in Perth".
"We've had a long association with Woosh," Mercer said.
A spokeswoman for Kordia also confirmed the meetings with vividwireless and the consortium's interest in the Perth network.
It was unclear whether the consortium had singled out an equipment vendor it would use – vividwireless used kit from the Chinese vendor Huawei.
However, Hunt indicated that he wanted the chosen vendor to underwrite internet speed and coverage claims.
"The speed and coverage calculations will be underwritten by the international equipment vendor we select, so if we have to deploy more equipment to meet these guaranteed speeds, there will be no additional cost," Hunt said.
"By international standards the RBI [Rural Broadband Initiative] network is pretty small, so it is low-risk to 4G vendors that are multi-billion dollar corporations."
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