Intel has signed agreements with two Chinese cities related to the roll-out of WiMax wireless broadband services.
Specific terms of the agreements with the cities of Dalian and Chengdu were not disclosed, but the cities expected to be among the first in China to deploy WiMax networks.
Also known as IEEE 802.16, WiMax is a fixed wireless networking technology that allows connections up to 70mbps over a range of up to 50km. The first WiMax-based equipment is expected to be available early next year.
Deploying WiMax in Dalian and Chengdu will speed the deployment of broadband internet connections by eliminating the need for last-mile connections between home and business users and an internet service provider.
At the end of April, China had 15.6 million broadband internet users and 54.1 million dial-up internet users, according to China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII).
Dalian and Chengdu are considered second-tier cities in China, behind the principal cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
Both cities have attracted significant amounts of foreign investment and serve as important regional business centres.
The announcement of the partnership between Intel and these cities underscores how rapidly broadband internet access is spreading in China beyond the country's principal urban centres, according to Glyn Truscott, a consultant at BDA China, a telecommunications consultancy in Beijing.
Sumner Lemon writes for IDG News Service