WiMAX trial planned for UK, rollout to follow within months

Despite Western European operators selecting LTE as the default technology for 4G, a trial WiMAX network is being planned in the UK prior to a deployment covering the island of Angelsey, North Wales.

The company involved, fibre optic infrastructure specialist i3 Group, said that it would use a combination of fibre and WiMAX to deliver broadband of up to 10Mbps to homes that do not currently have access to broadband.

The two-month trial will initially cover 300 homes on the largely rural island, followed by a rollout to the Angelsey population of 33,000 that i3 claims would take about six months.

According to i3, the project has benefited from an injection of cash from the Welsh Assembly Government, which will see Angelsey residents without access to broadband receiving up to £700 towards installation costs.

The i3 Group, which acquired a spectrum licence in July, said it would run fibre connections to WiMAX base stations using the existing sewers.

This move will give fresh heart to WiMAX in Europe, and especially the major supporter of the technology, Samsung. The company recently announced two deals to provide 802.16e infrastructure for the rollouts of two national WiMAX networks in Bulgaria and the Ukraine.

Confirming its intent to push forward with WiMAX, Samsung has demonstrated its so-called "WiMAX 2" technology at the CEATEC 2010 tradeshow in Tokyo. The company said that WiMAX 2 was based on the 802.16m standard and offered more efficient and faster connections (up to 330 megabytes download speeds) than existing WiMAX systems.

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