Wireless providers increase reach to 20km

16 May 2007

The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has new guidelines to allow for wireless broadband providers to increase their coverage to 20km in each fixed wireless area frequency band.

This move, ComReg believes, will help provide broadband access to rural areas that are not presently catered for.

Since 2003 ComReg has been running the wireless broadband scheme, with 214 FWALA (fixed wireless access local area) licences issued to 15 different companies to date.

Providers holding this licence will be able to implement the improved 20km coverage immediately as long as they comply with existing field strength regulations.

This change could mean an addition to the estimated 80,000-plus wireless broadband subscribers nationwide.

ComReg is also working on a proposal for geographical services areas (GSA), a scheme that could allow FWALA licence holders to extend their services into areas previously considered to be “dead zones”.

A consultation period will run from 15 May to 22 June in which interested parties can contribute to the GSA tender.

This new plan follows ComReg’s recent announcement to reserve spectrum in the 3.5GHz band for the National broadband Scheme.

ComReg cited the reason for choosing this particular frequency as being that it had become the preferred band for wireless broadband providers in Ireland in the last three years.

By Marie Boran