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Darlington FC becomes a WiMax ISP to raise player funds

Darlington Football Club is the first club to become a wireless broadband ISP using WiMax technology from Balfour Webnet.

The team - nicknamed The Quakers - are to offer the cut-price Quaker Broadband service to supporters, businesses and residents in the town.

The club promises to undercut the broadband services currently being offered by fixed broadband providers such as BT, Virgin Media and Tiscali using WiMax long-range wireless technology.

The football club itself is already wireless-enabled and expects to launch the commercial town-wide service in the next few weeks.

As well as providing an impressive 20mbps access speed for downloading data, the club will also provide phone services over the network. As well as providing cheaper deals to financially disadvantaged groups, Quaker Broadband will also be available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

In return for branding the "virtual" service on behalf of Balfour Webnet, Darlington Football Club will receive a "generous" percentage of subscriptions, which will be ploughed back into its playing budget.

Jon Sotnick, chief executive of Darlington Football Club, said, "The Quaker Broadband trial will be piloted within weeks. This partnership will have a huge impact on the local community, which the football club is proud to be at the heart of."

He said schools and hospitals in the area will receive heavily subsidised or even free services.

He said the network was now being monitored by the football league with a view to implementing it at other clubs.

Balfour Webnet said it expected the first commercial services to be available by the end of October.


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