While much of the discussion of the future of broadband services has focused on the Federal Government’s ongoing fibre roll-out, the commercial sector has been moving ahead with enhancements to wireless infrastructure.
Last week Optus announced a successful trial of a 4G wireless network running at faster than 50Mbit/sec using LTE technology, which is a significant upgrade from speeds capable on its existing 3G/HSPA network. A second phase of the trial including testing of interoperability with its existing networks will take place in Sydney later this year.
Wireless networks based on both LTE and WiMAX technology are crucial to the development of broadband applications and services. While fibre networks promise raw speed for downloading high-definition movies and interactive experiences, high-speed mobile services provide ubiquity of access and bring to life whole new classes of applications. Twitter for instance, and especially foursquare, would be essentially crippled were the not accessible away from the desktop. 4G wireless also makes broadband truly portable.