The South Australian and Federal governments have teamed up with ISP Adam Internet to roll out the infrastructure needed to provide swift Internet access to residents living in broadband blackspots in the Adelaide metropolitan area.
The WiMAX wireless network will provide broadband to the metropolitan areas that currently do not have access to ADSL2+ or equivalent services. The project is set to be completed within 15 months, with the first phase of the WiMAX roll-out due online as soon as October.
The first suburbs set to receive the WiMAX service include Reynella, Happy Valley and Flagstaff Hill.
"Work will begin almost immediately on addressing more than 350 blackspot locations across Adelaide. First connections are marked for significant problem areas in Reynella and other southern suburbs,” said Michael O’Brien, SA Minister for Science and Information Economy.
The initial $3 million to kick-start the project will come in the form of an investment from South Australia’s Broadband Development Fund. Scott Hicks, managing director of Adam Internet, revealed that the SA ISP will also contribute $12 million to the project over the next 15 months.
Across the city, households have been deprived of access to broadband services and to date 350 blackspots have been recorded by the Adelaide ISP.
“We’ve been a major ISP in Adelaide for 20 years and have built up a strong customer base. Each time a customer would request broadband services but be denied access due to the level of infrastructure, we recorded it,” said Hicks. “Eventually we were provided with a comprehensive picture of the major blackspots in Adelaide.”
“One of the major problems Adelaide households face is that every street in the city could potentially have a blackspot due to a lack of infrastructure,” said Hicks.
According to telecommunications analyst Paul Budde, Adelaide has been overlooked in terms of broadband service and infrastructure in the past. “When Telstra began the roll-out [of broadband infrastructure in the early part of this decade], it decided that it would be much more lucrative and quicker to implement the infrastructure on the east coast, leaving cities such as Perth and Adelaide lagging behind,” said Budde.
To assist households that wish to use the WiMAX service, Adam Internet has created a Web site at broadbandblackspots.com.au . Customers and residents can register their interest in broadband services and sign up for information about the deployment plans in their area. The Web site states that residences in broadband blackspots may be eligible for free set up. If you have tried to connect to broadband previously and were rejected, you may be eligible for a subsidised service under the Australian Government's Australian Broadband Guarantee program.
The WiMAX project has been praised by economics consulting firm System Knowledge Concepts as being economically beneficial. It's estimated that the WiMAX project might be worth more than $87 million to the state over the next five years. Other economic benefits include job creation.
"This contract will initially create an extra 110 jobs during the network construction and customer connection phase, with 75 permanent jobs required in the longer term,” said O’Brien in a statement.