UK Broadband says WiMax was never a viable option

Thursday, March 15th 2012
Nicholas James of UK Broadband has said WiMax could never compete with fixed-line broadband.
UK Broadband says WiMax was never a viable option
WiMax broadband technology was never likely to be a success, according to the chief executive of wireless internet service provider (ISP) UK Broadband.

Speaking to TechWeekEurope, Nicholas James explained that his company decided not to invest in the rollout of WiMax networks, despite holding sufficient spectrum to do so for a number of years.

UK Broadband was one of the only companies in the UK that had enough spectrum to potentially deploy WiMax infrastructure, but chose not to do so. The other telecoms firm, Freedom4, opted to roll out the technology in Stratford upon Avon and Milton Keynes.

Mr James said UK Broadband was keen to wait for the launch of Long-Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband in Britain to take advantage of its valuable spectrum, rather than pushing forward with WiMax deployments.

This decision was made because the ISP felt there was no way for wireless broadband providers to compete with the unregulated fixed-line broadband market, he revealed.

"Our view was that we had to wait until a deployable mobile technology came along, so for a time UK Broadband became the 4G research centre for [alternative Wi-Fi technology] PCCW," Mr James stated.

The UK Broadband chief went on to insist that WiMax would be a viable option if there was little competition from fixed-line operators, but in Britain it was "never a long-term solution".

"If you are in a competitive environment with multiple operators, unbundled local loop etc, then WiMax becomes less cost effective in that environment," he added.

Mr James went on to declare that WiMax is "dead" as a mobile broadband solution, although he claimed it may still have a future in the fixed-line sector.

Last month, UK Broadband activated the country's first commercial 4G LTE network in the London Borough of Southwark. Working on a wholesale basis, the ISP will offer services to consumers, businesses and the public sector from this May.

The move involved the first deployment of TD-LTE 3.5GHz technology in the world.

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