Broadband deals from 4G wireless operators are unlikely to threaten viability of the National Broadband Network (NBN), with Australians indicating both technologies are necessary, according to broadband comparison website Compare Broadband.
In a poll conducted by the site, 59 per cent of those surveyed indicated they would rather see both technologies, while 40 per cent preferred 4G wireless as a the dominant technology.
"Understandably, most people prefer the convenience of mobile wireless and faster speeds will make this technology even more popular,” Compare Broadband spokesperson, Sarah Routledge, said.
"However, this does not mean there is no longer any need for fixed-line broadband and the public still appears to support the NBN. Both technologies can work together, not against each other."
The results follow the recent announcement by Telstra that it will launch the first Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Australia by the end of 2011. The telco will use the 4G technology to boost mobile internet speeds in capital cities and some regional areas, and expand the capacity of its network to meet growing demand, according to the teclo's chief executive, David Thodey.
The announced upgrade caused much debate with many questioning the need for a fixed-line network, causing communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy to deny the network would threaten the Gillard Government’s NBN rollout. He said wireless was “an important complementary technology to fibre”.
NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, also dismissed claims 4G will compete with the NBN, maintaining that the two technologies complement each other.
''While people like the convenience of their wireless devices, fixed networks are and will continue to be the workhorse of data download,'' Quigley said in a statement.
Quigley also pointed out that the 4G upgrade requires a fibre connection to the mobile towers, underlining the need for both technologies.
However, An independent review into NBN Co’s 30-year business plan, authored by Greenhill Caliburn at the request of the government, noted some consumers "may be willing to sacrifice higher speed fibre transmissions for the convenience of mobile platforms". The view was backed by shadow communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
“It is clear that the Government has gotten what it paid for in this report. The only way to really know if taxpayers will get what they are paying for with the NBN is to subject it to a thorough cost benefit analysis,” Turnbull wrote in a blog post.
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