Don't forget wireless in NBN blueprint: Ericsson

John C. Tanner
19 Jun 2009

Governments considering national broadband infrastructure initiatives should stop treating wireless like a cash cow to be milked and more like an additional tool to connecting everyone with broadband, Ericsson said Thursday.

Michael Bjarhov, Asia-Pacific director of government and industry relations at Ericsson, said during a panel session at the Next Generation Broadband Forum summit at CommunicAsia that governments mapping out broadband initiatives are too obsessed with fiber and not giving mobile its due as a broadband solution.

“We see a lot of government support for rolling out FTTx, but they get carried away with the idea of trying to connect all the homes,” he said. “They forget that in the near future, 80% of broadband connections will be mobile.”

Bjarhov said HSPA and eventually LTE were cost-effective ways to connect rural areas with multi-megabit data connections, citing advances in smaller, lower-cost rural base stations that run on alternative power.

Bjarhov admitted that fiber delivers far more bandwidth ¨C hundreds of megabits versus LTE’s expected average peak rates of 10-20 Mbps in its initial incarnation.

“But 10-20 Mbps will be sufficient for most people,” he said.

Bjarhov said part of the problem was that governments tend to treat mobile as a short-term gain to make money via spectrum auctions and extra charges for everything from import duties and USF fees to SIM taxes.

“They’re trying to fund fiber projects and make money on spectrum,” he said. “They need to take a more holistic view where fiber and mobile broadband are two parts of the same solution.”

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