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Telabria to build first WiMAX network in the UK
Posted: 03-Nov-2004 [Source: Telabria]

[WiMAX (802.16) network to be deployed initially in Kent delivering high-speed wireless broadband services.]

Boston -- Telabria has announced plans to build the first WiMAX network in the United Kingdom. The network, which is now under construction, will deliver high-speed wireless broadband services to residential, business and enterprise customers in the South East of England, and provide backhaul for Telabria's growing installed base of WiFi hotspots in the region. The service will commence trials in January, with a commercial launch by mid 2005.

Telabria is deploying its network initially in the county of Kent, which has a population of over one and a half million people in an area of 1,442 square miles. The company intends to deliver wireless broadband services uniting voice, video and data to urban and suburban centers as well as to rural regions currently underserved by copper-based broadband.

Telabria will be deploying 802.16 compliant equipment, upon which WiMAX is based, for both backhaul and point-to-multipoint links. For the "last mile" connection to subscribers, Telabria has chosen SkyPilot Network of Belmont, California, and its carrier class SkyPilot System.

Baker explained, "While WiMAX offers us a perfect medium for getting high bandwidth from our fiber points into target service areas, it's going to be some while before subscriber units -- the devices needed by our customers to get a broadband connection -- reach a price that is cost effective in residential and SOHO markets. SkyPilot offers a highly scalable and complimentary 5.8GHz 802.11-based solution today where indoor and outdoor subscriber units capable of around 3Mbps throughput are competitively priced today; by comparison, we expect initial WiMAX CPE to be at least three times the cost of an equivalent SkyPilot solution. While this may be acceptable for enterprise customers, it would severely affect any opportunity for residential and SOHO market penetration where we're offering a wireless DSL replacement. By combining 802.16 compliant equipment with SkyPilot's highly efficient yet low-cost 802.11-based system, we have created a hybrid infrastructure that enables Telabria to launch a service and acquire subscribers today."

Over the last nine months, Telabria has been building wireless networks that deliver broadband services to rural communities where telephone exchanges have not been enabled for broadband or which are too far from the local exchange to get a connection. The existing satellite backhaul in these communities will be replaced with WiMAX backhaul during 2005. Simultaneously, Telabria has been deploying WiFi hotspots in Central London, Essex, Sussex, Surrey and Kent at a rate of 25 per month, and which are expected to number over 400 by mid 2005. Located in pubs, inns, hotels, and public libraries, and currently using ADSL for backhaul, Telabria expects to switch them all to wireless backhaul.

"With its high aggregate capacity and non line of sight (NLOS) characteristics, WiMAX is ideal for backhauling from multiple hotspots, and we want to completely cut out any reliance on the copper local loop as soon as possible," said Baker. "Furthermore, our WiFi hotspots of today will also be our WiMAX points-of-presence (POPs) of tomorrow, enabling us to build networks where our customers are always 'best connected' wherever they are in our coverage area."

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