Rural subscribers may soon have access to standard-definition TV and broadband internet access via fixed and mobile connections following the launch of a radio communications system capable of transmitting high-speed data.
The technology will also help urban network operators cope with a rocketing demand for bandwidth caused by the increasing use of video on mobile handsets, said Robb Henshaw, Proxim's director of marketing.
The technology, launched in the UK today by US-based Proxim Wireless, offers 300Mbps and 600Mbps backhaul connections in point-to-point and point-to-multipoint configurations over 70km using non-line-of-sight technology. This will expand mobile network operators' potential reach far beyond the coverage areas published last week in Ofcom's 3G maps.
The technology is suitable for use with the latest 4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile networks, as well as for "last mile" connections to areas that would be too expensive to cable, and for high-definition CCTV surveillance applications. However, consumers will have to wait until handset makers produce devices capable of the necessary speeds to deliver high-definition streaming video.
The products are aimed at three main users: fixed and mobile network operators and CCTV operators, Henshaw said.
The technology is already under test in the UK, Ireland, and the US. Earlier Proxim technology was used to deliver the Cybermoor project to Alston, Cumbria, a CCTV application for Liverpool docks, and a digital inclusion project in St Helens, Henshaw said.
According to BT, break-even point for installing a fixed-wire street cabinet is about 300 homes. "Alston has a total of around 600 homes with a density of about 24 homes per square miles compared to the national average of 377, and the operators can afford to change £8.99 a month for a 2Mbps service," Henshaw said.