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Milton Keynes to trial public Wimax network

Tash Shifrin

Milton Keynes is to test a Wimax wireless network, in what its organisers say is the first trial of its kind in the UK.

Wimax (World Interoperability for Microwave Access) is expected to support broadband speeds over wireless networks at a price cheap enough for the mass market. It is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard.

The trial, set up by Pipex Wireless - a joint venture between internet service provider Pipex and chip maker Intel - has been designed and planned in co-operation with Milton Keynes Council.

Base station equipment and subscriber terminals will be provided by Airspan Networks, and Ericsson will build and operate the radio network and rooftop infrastructure.

The trial will test demand for Wimax from both businesses and consumers, with base stations sited in areas with little or no DSL broadband provision. It will involve about 500 users and provide connection speeds of between 2mbps and 10mbps.

The six-month trial will begin in December and, if successful, could be extended to provide wider coverage across Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes council head of IT and e-government, Steven Jewell, said, “We are pleased to have attracted Pipex Wireless to trial Wimax in Milton Keynes. This reflects our continuing commitment to the digital economy in our town and to improving broadband provision.”

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