BT’s First Public Wireless Broadband Network

After a successful wireless broadband trial in Northern Ireland, BT intend to launch their first public access there by the end of the year. The company has signed a UK£500,000 (€757,000) deal with Alvarion to provide 5.8 GHz BreezeAccess VL equipment for the rollout, and is a partnership with the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

BT embarked on four trials in each of the regions of the UK, and has been investigating wireless as part of its strategy for 100% broadband coverage by the end of 2005. As there are 565 exchanges in the UK for which ADSL is not commercially viable, wireless access is essential to providing Broadband access to people in sparsely populated, remote areas.

According to BT, 73% of people trialling the service were extremely or very satisfied with the results, with 89% wishing to subscribe on a permanent basis.

“Radio broadband provides another innovative way for BT to provide ADSL-equivalent services in areas where our wireline infrastructure cannot reach,” said Chet Patel, General Manager of Internet Access products at BT. “Feedback from the trials was incredibly positive both in terms of ease of use, and suitability for the job. Based on this, we’re confident that the product will begin to meet the needs of more remote broadband users, where we are able to deploy this technology.”

“After 10 years of field deployments, wireless broadband is now a mainstream access technology,” said Zvi Slonimsky, CEO of Alvarion. “In the near future, the proliferation of WiMAX-Certified systems will usher in the era of mass-market radio broadband equipment, delivering both economical and performance benefits to everyone from operators to end users. Alvarion continues to be at the forefront of innovation, and our leadership position is confirmed by our relationships with the likes of BT, not to mention our strong and diverse customer base.”


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?