The Alberta Special Areas Board (SAB) has selected Nortel to build what is believed to be the first commercial broadband wireless access network in Canada based on the WiMAX IEEE 802.16-2004 (fixed WiMAX) standard.
The SAB is collaborating with NETAGO Wireless, a newly formed wireless service provider in Canada, to bring wireless broadband services to rural Albertans spread throughout more than 8,000 square miles (21,000 square kms) in southeastern Alberta. The WiMAX network will operate in the 3.5GHz spectrum band and be made available to roughly 80 percent of SAB residents by the end of summer 2006.
The new WiMAX network will also extend the service area of the Alberta SuperNet Project (http://www.albertasupernet.ca**), a provincial government initiative designed to bring affordable broadband services to approximately 4,200 government, health, library and educational facilities in 429 communities across Alberta.
"This WiMAX network will support our goal of bridging the digital divide through affordable broadband wireless Internet services to users located in rural areas of Alberta," said Jay J. Slemp, chairman, SAB. "Nortel's proven innovation and leadership in WiMAX, wireless mesh and advanced 3G technologies along with its ability to get this service up and running efficiently is essential to meeting our goal."
Under the terms of the agreement with the SAB, Nortel will supply fixed (802.16d) WiMAX base stations, indoor and outdoor CPEs (Customer Premises Equipment) and wireless backhaul equipment, as well provide installation and professional services.
"We are pleased to have been selected by the SAB to build this innovative network in areas that lack basic broadband capabilities." said Mark Whitton, vice president and general manager, WiMAX and Wireless Mesh Networks, Nortel. "Nortel's Fixed WiMAX solutions will help pave the way for long-term economic growth and development by providing scalable, robust and cost-effective wireless broadband services to residential and business customers across rural Alberta."
The WiMAX network will equip SAB residences and businesses with fixed broadband wireless access at data rates between 1-3 Mbps which is comparable to cable-broadband and DSL connections. The high-speed capabilities will support sophisticated broadband services such as email, high-speed Internet access, multimedia applications including streaming video and music, VoIP and other real-time business collaboration services. The network will also support video surveillance and remote telemetry.
Nortel's fixed (802.16d) WiMAX solutions can be seamlessly upgraded to support the nomadic/portable WiMAX standard (802.16e). Nortel is a member of the WiMAX Forum and has contributed to the 802.16 standard by helping develop underlying technologies like OFDM and MIMO for more than six years, and holds several key patents in these areas.