As previously reported in siliconrepublic.com, Intel has confirmed that it is collaborating with Irish Broadband on WiMax trials, beginning with a base station in Leixlip that will allow local businesses, households and schools to avail of high-speed wireless internet access.
Much is expected of WiMax – seen as a key technology for overcoming insufficient broadband supply – and proponents claim it will be capable of sending data over a range of 30 miles with data transfer speeds of up to 70Mbps. The venture is the first installation in Ireland of WiMax compatible equipment operating in the commercial 3.5GHz frequency spectrum. As part of the roll out, Intel and Irish Broadband are offering free high-speed wireless internet connectivity over WiMax technology for a three-year period, to eight primary and post-primary schools in Leixlip and the new Leixlip Library, which is currently under construction.
A joint global study by Bear, Stearns & Co International and The Management Consulting Group (TMNG) labelled Ireland, with high gross domestic product but low broadband penetration, as one of the markets with the most to gain for fixed and mobile network operators that deploy new wireless broadband standards such as WiMax and MobileFi to augment the roll out of DSL and 3G services.
“High-speed DSL and cable broadband access are only available to a fraction of computer users globally,” said Jim OHara, vice-president TMNG and general manager of Intel Ireland. “WiMax will make it possible to build cost-effective, high-speed wireless connections to homes and businesses, be they in urban or rural environments. Intel has focused its WiMax development making it easier and more cost-effective for the next generation of computer users to wirelessly access the high-speed internet.”
Irish Broadband holds 3.5 spectrum licences in 16 cities and towns in Ireland including Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. As the company expands services to these areas, WiMax will be an integral part of the network. This WiMax deployment at Intel is the first of many as Irish Broadband roles out its network nationally.
In recent months another wireless internet operator DigiWeb revealed plans to construct a WiMax ready network that will cover 50pc of Ireland by early 2005.
WiMax is a standards-based wireless technology that provides high-throughput broadband connections over long distances. WiMax can be used for a number of applications, including broadband internet connections, hotspot and cellular backhaul, and high-speed enterprise connectivity for businesses. Wireless broadband will revolutionise people’s lives by enabling a high-speed connection directly to the information they need, whenever and wherever they need it. It is a fast, superior, always on, unlimited usage broadband internet service and customers do not require a phone line to avail of this service so they can use the Internet and their phone at the same time.
Intel said that it will work to reduce the cost of equipment that will use broadband and ultimately allow a much greater number of people have access to high-speed internet connectivity. Intel is to mass produce the silicon that will be used in WiMax equipment and drive down the cost of this through standardisation. “In two years’ time Intel will be integrating the WiMax technology into its PC platforms enabling a much wider community of users to connect,” the company said in a statement. Stacy Smith, vice-president and Intel chief information officer, said: “WiMax technology is really cool and will allow us to bridge the digital divide by connecting the next billion people to the internet.”
Paul Doody, managing director of Irish Broadband, added: “This new standard will enable Irish Broadband to build high-quality, high-capacity, wireless broadband networks in a cost-effective manner. It also provides a very exciting development roadmap that will help to deliver continuous service enhancements to our customers. Irish Broadband is delighted to be collaborating with Intel to deploy the first WiMax base station at the Leixlip site. We are particularly pleased to be able to provide schools in Leixlip with state-of-the-art infrastructure supporting education and learning.”
By John Kennedy