Govt forks out $12 million to fund wireless technology development

Melbourne-based Advanced Communications Technologies (ACT) has received a $12 million grant from the Federal Government's Industry Research and Development Board to develop wireless communication network technology.

Called SpectruCell, the technology will enable mobile telecommunications base stations to process and transmit all current mobile telecommunication protocols including AMPS, CDMA, TDMA, GSM, UMTS, Mobile IP and Voice IP. It will also be compatible with new wireless Internet applications, according to ACT.

The success of the technology will mean substantial cost savings and improved services for mobile telecommunication users as communication network providers will be able to upgrade their services at a reduced cost compared to what is currently possible and without the need to set up new infrastructure, said the company.

The technology "has enormous potential not just for the Australian market but internationally because it is bridging technology, and I would think, is in short supply around the world," said Alston. "Traditionally we talk about analog and GSM digital being incompatible, now we are going to have a means of bridging all of these, and that must involve huge cost savings. That's going to have enormous attraction to every carrier in the world."

ACT will use the grant to complete the development of the first prototype of its SpectruCell unit; complete a testing program; and gain the necessary licenses to enable it to be launched into the market.

ACT's development of SpectruCell is assisted by RMIT Innovation, the commercial R&D arm of the university.

ACT is one of 180 high tech companies to receive funding for R&D this year, said Alston. Last financial year, the government approved $190 million for 236 projects under its R&D Start Program. Including contributions from the private sector, R&D support amounted to more than $450 million, according to Senator Nick Minchin, Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Resources.

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Angelina Forsyth

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