BigAir eyes defence, mining markets

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BigAir eyes defence, mining markets
BigAir chief executive Jason Ashton

To leverage student infrastructure for new verticals.

Wireless wholesale provider BigAir has started discussions with mining and defence firms in hopes of offering wireless services to a captive market outside its stronghold in student accommodation.

A successful contract in either vertical would see BigAir build wireless infrastructure outside of major metropolitan areas for the first time.

Chief executive Jason Ashton said the economics made sense for the company.

"We see a lot of opportunities there where you've got mining accommodation and potentially defence where you've got military personnel on a base and looking for entertainment, high-speed internet connectivity," he said.

"A lot of these places are limited to low-speed internet or even mobile in some cases."

BigAir would likely look to leverage its existing infrastructure assets at regional universities including at Ballarat, Griffith and potentially its business services at Newcastle, NSW.

Where the company didn't have nearby assets, Ashton said it would be able to build microwave backhaul to serving areas "very quickly", if necessary.

Mining and defence verticals were largely dominated by satellite vendors.

BigAir results

BigAir posted record full-year financial results this week, including a 105 percent increase in revenue to $15.5 million which the company attributed to the acquisitions of rival providers Clever Communications and AccessPlus earlier this year.

Full integration of the AccessPlus customer base had been completed while billing integration for Clever Communications was expected next month.

Network assets for Clever had also been folded in and linked to BigAir's existing points of presence.

The company also planned expansion of its network services - a mix of fixed WiMAX, wi-fi and wireless ethernet links - to a further two regions, adding to the eight capital cities and major metropolitan areas it currently operated.

While Ashton would not reveal which locations were being earmarked, he hinted Canberra as a potential choice.

It would increase the company's current stable of 100 base stations nationwide by a further six or seven to the serve the relatively smaller cities, for a host of 50 wholesale partners.

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