iPrimus joins wireless ranks

iPrimus Telecom has leaped onto the wireless bandwagon with the launch of a new wireless broadband service across selected hotspot locations in Sydney and Melbourne. iPrimus general manager Campbell Sallabank said the service is now available in 25 hotspots across 50 different areas.

The new iPrimus service will be provided in partnership with Azure Wireless, a wireless hotspot reseller established by property developer and investment company Hudson Conway.

The deal is the first step by the Internet provider to enter the wireless market, and also represents the first deal struck by Azure Wireless with an ISP since its official launch in Australia in September 2002.

Under the arrangement, iPrimus will provide the DSL infrastructure, Internet access, hosting and network access, while Azure Wireless will operate the network management. The service will be based on the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard, which theoretically offers speeds of up to 11Mbps.

As the service is hosted across fixed DSL infrastructure, however, realistic download speeds will be around 1Mbps, Sallabank said. Upload speeds are limited to 256Kbps. Each wireless access point offers a signal radius of a couple of hundred metres.

Sallabank said current iPrimus broadband subscribers will be able to connect through to the wireless service using their existing user names by simply contacting the ISP and activating wireless access. Dial-up account holders will also be able to use the service, but will need to enable their accounts with the ISP for the wireless service.

Once enabled, users can take their wireless-enabled device, such as a PDA or notebook, to a hotspot location and login using their existing user name. An iPrimus logo and graph will appear informing users about the level of signal available in that area.

Sallabank said users can opt either to have their wireless usage billed directly to their iPrimus account, or pay for use on a casual basis. Casual users can expect to pay $12.50 per hour, with the hourly rate dropping to just under $10 for those using the service on a plan.

Sallabank says iPrimus plans to extend the service from Sydney and Melbourne across metro areas in each Australian state over the coming year. The ISP is also looking at developing the service with its business customers, he said.

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