The pilot project has blanketed Ta Van which has what could be “the worst communications infrastructure in the country”. The 2Mbps downlink and a 512Kps uplink Internet access, should pave the way for voice-over-Internet protocol and other data services.
It currently has a footprint covering 14 Asia-Pacific countries, including Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Australia and New Zealand.
Users in Ta Van are now enjoying Internet services free, but its backers believe the WiMax/satellite technique is commercially feasible even for relatively cash-strapped regions. According to Intel’s, calculations, the service could be offered for about $25 per end user connection per month, and could also bring in revenues by allowing communities to set up businesses, such as Internet cafes for tourists.
The second-phase WiMAX rollout will link the WiMAX base station to an IPStar satellite. The second phase is expected to be completed in October. The new IPSTAR maXX allows IPSTAR to be efficiently deployed in multiple-user broadband environments such as for Community Internet Centers, Multi-dwelling Units (MDU), Internet Cafes, university campuses and corporate offices.
The hope is that traditional industries such as agriculture and forestry can use the new telecoms infrastructure to grow their business and perhaps attract more cross-border trade with China. Another hope is to attract foreign investment to the region.