Verizon launches Broadband Access Service

Verizon Wireless has unveiled its BroadbandAccess service for wide-area wireless data users across the US.

Verizon Wireless has unveiled its BroadbandAccess service for wide-area wireless data users across the US.

Nationwide, Verizon now offers voice and data services on CDMA2000 1x, which delivers roughly the speed of a dial-up internet connection.

EV-DO boosts available data bandwidth to 300Kbps to 500Kbps. BroadbandAccess is already available in the San Diego and Washington, DC.

Verizon Communications chairman and chief executive officer Ivan Seidenberg cites multiplayer gaming, music and video content and video messaging as promising uses of BroadbandAccess.

This announcement shows Verizon is committed to deploying EV-DO, said IDC analyst Shiv Bakhshi. The carrier may be trying to hold on to its customers following rival AT&T Wireless Services' national rollout of the next version of GPRS technology, called Edge (Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution).

Edge delivers slightly higher speed than Verizon's existing national CDMA 2000-1x network, at 60Kbps to 80Kbps rather than 40Kbps to 60Kbps.

EV-DO takes Verizon way beyond that race, and AT&T is still only in the testing stage with its higher speed technology, WCDMA (Wideband CDMA), he said.

"As soon as AT&T did this, it lit a fire in Verizon's heart to do something," Bakhshi said.

Verizon expects to spend about $1bn over the next two years rolling out the technology, which will involve adding software as well as hardware modules and in some cases radio equipment to existing cellular base stations, according to Ed Chao, a senior product manager at Lucent Technologies, which supplied many of the base stations in Verizon's network and the EV-DO network in Washington, DC.

The mobile operator already offers just one client device for BroadbandAccess, the Verizon Wireless PC 5220 modem card for notebook PCs. It expects to sell EV-DO PDAs and voice-data handsets, as well as more models of modem cards, by the end of this year.

BroadbandAccess costs $79.99 a month with a one-year contract. Through 31 March, the PC 5220 card costs $149.99 after a $100 rebate with a two-year service agreement.

Stephen Lawson writes for IDG News Service

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