Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Slovenian WiMAX tests could bode well for U.S. wireless broadband players

For WISPs considering using WiMAX technology to serve areas with rugged or heavily forested terrain, recent testing of WiMAX in Slovenia indicates the protocol can work well provided it's transmitted on a relatively low frequency.

cellular-news reports WiMAX developer Telsima conducted tests there earlier this year and claims to have successfully demonstrated a 50km (30mile) connection with 6 Mbps throughput using a 3 MHz channel under near line of sight conditions in the 450 MHz frequency band.

"Compared to higher frequency systems, the Sub-GHz solutions are technically and economically suited for covering large areas where the foliage is dense and the terrain does not allow for line of sight communications between the subscriber station and base station. We are very optimistic in our sub-GHz solution's capability to address the needs of high coverage, low density markets with high modulation rate capacity," the publication quoted Wolfgang Mack, chief marketing officer of Telsima, as saying.

These results if verified could entice U.S. wireless broadband players using WiMAX like Clearwire to move outside its existing metro markets and cater to customers living in less densely populated areas where telcos and cable companies don't offer wireline-based broadband.


Carol Anne said...

The problems of rural broadband deployment are not technological, but economic.

Sure, WiMax deployment is cheaper than Fiber To The Home (FTTH), because of the right-of-way that must be bought. But, even with WiMax as the "backhaul" from a central WiFi distribution point back to "civilization," I don't see how any major, publicly-held telco can afford to serve such a small number of sparsely-populated areas.

If a major telco has the choice between delivering $10M of new technology to the expanding suburbs--or exurbs--of a major city, and delivering the same technology over a 50-mile radius in a rural area (15,000 sq. mi.+), which do you think they'll do?

Telsima is based in Silicon Valley. If it's such a great opportunity, why are the so active in Slovenia (and India, and ...), instead of the rural parts of their own State?

The answer is: $$$$$$$$$$$$!

Fred Pilot said...

There are opportunities on the edges (and even portions inside) of metro areas that aren't isolated rural areas but nevertheless lack broadband access because the existing adjacent telco/cable infrastructure has not been sufficiently upgraded and built out.

These areas provide wireless broadband players the opportunity to serve both fixed subscribers who lack wireline broadband options as well as mobile customers, so it's possible the numbers can pencil out when both market segments are taken into account.

For example, see my previous post re Verizon Wireless Broadband providing wireless broadband service to residences in quasi rural/quasi suburban areas that are not currently offered wireline broadband from telcos and cable companies.

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