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Rural and Regional Australia gets new high-speed wireless data service
Posted on 27-Jan-2004 18:34 | Tags Filed under: News

Rural and Regional Australia gets new high-speed wireless data service
Telstra will invest a further AU$31 million to roll out advanced wireless data services to rural and regional Australia before the end of the year, completing the first national next-generation mobile data network. The new network will cover 98 per cent of the population, allowing them to access emails, the internet or even company networks, as long as they have a compatible mobile phone, or a PC card or modem used with a laptop or desktop computer.

Group Managing Director for Telstra Country Wide, Doug Campbell, said the announcement was a massive leap in internet connection options for rural and regional customers, providing most with an alternate high-speed internet service.

He said the wireless data service - known as 1xRTT (single carrier radio transmission technology) - operates over the CDMA network to transmit data at speeds of up to 144kilobits per second. IT's well known that this is the maximum speed in theory. In reality users get speeds more close to 56kbps.

"1x is a proven technology, and its availability across the national CDMA network makes it a compelling proposition for those who want mobile data, or who are in areas of CDMA coverage but no fixed telecommunication infrastructure," Mr Campbell said.

"We have invested heavily in the rollout of CDMA, which now covers almost one-fifth of the Australian landmass or around 1.5 million square kilometres - more than double the geographic coverage of GSM.

"Providing 1x across the CDMA network demonstrates our commitment to delivering innovative communications services for our rural and regional customers."

1x was launched just over 12 months ago in the greater metropolitan areas of Sydney and Melbourne, and as a trial in Sale, Victoria. In February 2003 it was released in Brisbane, Canberra the Gold Coast, and selected regional sites, spreading to other capitals only months ago.

Telstra anticipates the effectiveness of 1x as an alternate data service, for both metropolitan and country users, will be greatly enhanced by the national rollout. There are already over 100,000 1x capable devices in the hands of customers, most of them in rural and regional areas.

According to Matt Marlor on his website MTekk IT Services, Telstra is working on a number of new offerings to be made available this year, and his understanding is that this includes the Samsung SGH-i700 (possibly SCH-i700) and perhaps even the Samsung SGH-i600. According to Matt, he has confirmed that the Samsung SGH-i700 Pocket PC Phone is currently being tested for use on Telstra's CDMA 1xRTT network, and that it would likely be released around April, although according to Telstra's press release this may slip somewhat. Not only this, but according to a pdf document on Telstra's website "Other personal digital assistants (PDAs), PC cards, handsets and devices are currently under test for introduction later in the year."


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