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Hamilton Poised to Become NZ's First WiMAX City

24 October 2006

Hamilton Poised to Become New Zealand’s First WiMAX City

Hamilton City Council and Woosh Wireless announced plans last Friday for Hamilton to become the first mobile WiMAX city in New Zealand, accessing this groundbreaking technology before Auckland and the rest of the country.

These new WiMAX services will offer substantial cost savings for Hamilton residents and could potentially halve the average household’s telecom bill.

“This initiative will offer Hamilton residents and small businesses an exciting, cost effective, citywide wireless broadband service. It will boost Hamilton’s plans to be one of the country’s leading and most innovative cities”, said Kevin Wiley, Woosh’s Chief Executive Officer.

Hamilton mayor Michael Redman says Woosh wireless coming to Hamilton first is another evidence that Hamilton is positioned at the forefront of economic development and that Council sees high speed broadband as a key infrastructural asset for the city.

“The key to the successful implementation of this exciting initiative is that Woosh is committed to working together collaboratively and consulting closely with the community on the roll out of infrastructure required to support the service.

“This welcomed initiative is complementary to the publicly owned broadband Hamilton urban fibre network. Hamilton’s growth projections relative to other New Zealand cities are very buoyant. Solid, high capacity communication infrastructure is a key to sustaining such growth.”

“Access to competitive and high-speed broadband is regarded as essential for driving economic growth and building strong communities, and Woosh wants to work with the Council and residents to build upon the great things already happening here,” said Wiley.

Mr Wiley said Woosh chose Hamilton as the first city to launch WiMAX in New Zealand because it is a growing, ambitious, and progressive city with a vibrant university and research community, a strong demand for wireless broadband, and a positive attitude.

It is planned that the entire city will have WiMAX coverage at best by the end of 2007 or the first part of 2008.

Mr Wiley said Woosh plans to spend the next few months consulting with the community alongside the Hamilton City Council to ensure the planned network build is sympathetic to community interests and meets the city’s planning criteria.

“Woosh will work closely with the city council and city residents to get the best possible result for Hamilton,” explained Mr Wiley.

About WiMAX

WiMAX is the latest international standard in broadband wireless service that progressive cities around the world are beginning to deploy. Billions of dollars are being committed to the rollout of WiMAX services worldwide. The primary developers of WiMAX include Intel, Motorola, Nortel, and Samsung. Its proponents claim it will change the way we live and work.

The effect of WiMAX goes well beyond traditional telecommunications. Samsung have reported that within three years only 50% of devices using the WiMAX networks around the world will be telecommunications devices, as chips from Intel and others will be embedded in everything from cameras to flat screen Televisions. Devices such as I-Pods will have chips on board, and laptops and mobile phones will become high definition video and TV receivers. WiMAX Mobile phones are expected to be high speed internet access gateways to all of the above.

In time, Woosh intends overlaying WiMAX across its entire network.

Woosh Current Services and Future Plans

In Auckland Woosh already offers broadband and phone packages for around the same price as an ordinary phone line, and customers get toll call rates of only 10c a minute to anywhere in New Zealand or to 47 other countries. This service is offered through a different technology, supplied by IP Wireless out of the UK.

Under New Zealand’s current spectrum allocation, as used by radio, TV and mobile phone and broadband companies to deliver their services, Woosh hopes to consolidate enough spectrum to extend their existing services to include emerging trends such as interactive TV or Video on demand.

Kevin Wiley said, “In our view, spectrum equals bandwidth, and more bandwidth equals more services we can offer New Zealanders.”

Woosh has already put together enough spectrum to offer a reasonably comprehensive range of services in Hamilton, and has plans for even more offerings.

Woosh Wireless announced in July 2006 a partnership with Sky TV to combine the spectrum they respectively own and together offer TV services over the network.

Interactive video is a market experiencing phenomenal growth as evidenced by the recent acquisition of You Tube by Google.“Imagine downloading your cooking recipe straight from Jamie Oliver to the kitchen bench” said Wiley, “you will be able to access it in high definition via the net, anywhere anytime without having to be ‘wired in.’”

About Woosh

Woosh is a private company building broadband wireless networks in New Zealand. It has currently built networks in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Southland. The current technology it uses is part of the UMTS 3G standard.

Woosh plans to overlay WiMAX into its entire network but is starting in Hamilton.

Woosh is backed by some of New Zealand’s leading investors including Todd Capital, Stephen Tindall and leading overseas Private Equity investors.

Woosh recently won the TUANZ prize for innovation in recognition of its broadband and voice bundle.

ENDS

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