Fixed wireless broadband on the increase

30 Mar 2006

Wireless broadband is now available in a growing number of Irish towns as more service providers expand their networks. Yesterday’s report by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) revealed that the fixed wireless access market grew 363pc between the end of 2004 and the end of 2005 to some 40,000 subscribers.

Yesterday’s quarterly ComReg report revealed that in 2004 platforms other than DSL represented 13pc of total broadband subscriptions. However, by the end of 2005 this had increased to 25pc of total broadband subscriptions.

In its report ComReg said that fixed wireless access (FWA) was traditionally seen as a technology for deployment in rural areas where cable and DSL were commercially or technically unsuitable. However, while it does have advantages in lower-density areas, it is also a valuable asset in promoting competitive supply of services in highly concentrated urban areas.

It said that a single FWA base station can provide service to several hundred customers at data rates ranging from around 700Kb to 7Mb depending on the type of technology deployed.

ComReg says there are now 11 companies in Ireland licensed to offer broadband services via FWA and by the end of 2005 there were 40,000 subscribers in Ireland.

“FWA is likely to continue to increase its role as an important alternative form of broadband access in Ireland. New technologies such as WiMax are emerging that can increase the potential of FWA systems — such as higher data rates, greater distances or lower cost — and technologies are also emerging which could add a portable dimension to FWA,” ComReg concluded.

By John Kennedy