BellSouth expands WiMAX coverage

BellSouth Wireless Broadband Service is expanding its services to several more cities in the Southeast--Melbourne, FL, Chattanooga, TN, Greenville, MS, Charleston, SC and Albany, GA. The company will be using the 2.3 GHz WCS spectrum, which it is already using to offer service in Palatka and DeLand, FL, New Orleans, LA and Gulfport, MS. (note that in Athens, GA, the company is using the 2.5 GHz Broadband Radio Services spectrum).

Mel Levine, BellSouth's director of product development, told News Multichannel that the purpose of the expansion is not to replace but complement the company's wired services. "Even in metro areas, we have spaces where we don't have DSL coverage. And then when we get out to rural areas where we have DSL, but it goes so far out and the economics don't carry it farther," he said. "So what you are seeing is our plan using wireless broadband to push broadband farther out."

BellSouth is already using gear from Navini Networks, and for the new deployment it is considering equipment from Alcatel. As we have noted in a previous report, BellSouth faces a serious problem in that the band it operates in is, in fact, a combination of two bands straddling a slice of spectrum used by satellite radio, among them XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. The FCC is yet to determine acceptable levels of signal in that slice of spectrum, leading not only to spill-over interference but also to vendors not knowing exactly how to design their gear to minimize interference.

For more on BellSouth's WiMAX moves:
- see this in-depth Daily Wireless report
- Karen Brown's detailed News Multichannel report
- and BellSouth's Web site

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