NBN critics misunderstand wireless: NetComm

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NBN critics misunderstand wireless: NetComm
Wireless is good but fibre is better, says NetComm CEO.

But optical fibre will outpace wireless for the foreseeable future.

The chief executive officer of Australia’s oldest modem maker has added his voice to those backing fibre for the National Broadband Network, saying there was room for it and wireless to coexist.

But the public misunderstood wireless services, said NetComm chief David Stewart.

“Fixed wireless broadband, a lot of people don’t understand what that means as far as the NBN goes,” Stewart told a Gold Coast conference today.

“The concept that the NBN has here is that it’s going to be a fixed wireless technology that will deliver a guaranteed bandwidth to a fixed location and a base station will serve a handful of people [seven percent of Australians].

“The advantage is those people will have a permanent connection at a constant speed.

“It’s quite unlike mobile wireless broadband we all know today with 3G.”

Stewart drew distinctions between optical fibre cables, mobile wireless such as long-term evolution (LTE) or 4G and fixed wireless services.

He said it was wrong to pitch the three technologies as competing because they would co-exist -- as landline connections to the internet and mobile 3G coexist today.

“There’s been a lot of discussion around LTE and NBN and whether wireless technologies will supersede or make fibre obsolete – we don’t think so,” he said.

“While its true great leaps have been made in connection speeds on wireless mobile technologies, continual evolution and speed increases will apply with fibre.

“Wireless and fibre each have advantages and limitations and depending on users’ requirements users may choose one or the other or both.”

Stewart pointed to NetComm’s manufacturing of dial-up modems today for automated teller machines and industrial applications as proof that technologies may coexist with faster solutions.

“Fixed wireless and mobile wireless are capable of high speed internet access. The difference is the NBN fixed wireless provides guaranteed bandwidth but at the sacrifice of mobility,” he said.

“The key point is the technology for mobile wireless, fixed wireless and fibre all have their place and will continue to improve.

“We see the broadband coexisting in three categories – we see the fibre broadband as per the NBN, fixed wireless broadband as per the NBN and mobile wireless technology as per Telstra 3G network and others.”

NetComm provided equipment to households connected to Internode and Primus on the Tasmanian NBN and was looking at an upgrade market of 6 million devices as it rolls across the mainland, Stewart said.

The vendor launched a LTE device at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month and recently signed five international carriers, he said.

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