Walker Wireless to build national network

With a jumpstart from its three Project Probe tender wins, Walker Wireless hopes to be well on the way towards building a national network by the end of next year.

With a jumpstart from its three Project Probe tender wins, Walker Wireless hopes to be well on the way towards building a national network by the end of next year.

Managing director Bob Smith says the wireless access company has tendered right across the country for the Project Probe broadband money and even if it's not successful in all cases will certainly be on track to build a national network that includes larger towns and cities.

"We've got our core rollout strategy in major markets and in parallel we've got the regional rollout which we're focused on through Probe, but it's just a question of accelerating our network rollout."

Walker Wireless has won the first three tenders to be awarded in the government's initiative to bring broadband capability to the regions. The remaining 11 regional tenders are being considered and an announcement on them all is expected next month.

Smith says Walker Wireless will be able to offer broadband connectivity in regional centres as well as to the schools involved in the project.

"In those next markets up they're in our business plan already. If they're in an area that is part of a region where we're successful then that'll start to happen this year. If they're outside those regions then we'll focus on them in the following year."

Project Probe is being run by the Ministry of Education along with the Ministry of Economic Development to bring broadband capacity to schools that don't currently have access to high speed internet connectivity. While over 2000 schools are within the project's scope, nearly 80% of them already have access to Telecom's JetStream network.

Network roll out to schools as part of the project must be completed by November next year.

The network operators will retain ownership of any network they build as part of Probe, giving them a government sponsored "leg-up" in the region.

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