London businesses turn to Wimax after Holborn fire

Some businesses affected by a fire under Kingsway in central London have implemented a temporary Wimax solution

Businesses cut off from the internet by the recent Holborn fire have turned to Wimax services to maintain their broadband services during the long wait for repairs.

The fire broke out in underground electrical cable ducts in a Victorian tunnel beneath Kingsway, a major north-south route through central London, on the afternoon of 1 April.

Because of the added difficulty and danger of tackling a blaze underground and the fact that it ruptured a gas main, literally adding fuel to the flames, the fire burned for 36 hours.

It caused major disruption to broadband in the area, with many services, including BT’s, going down for several days.

With no access to the outside world, a number of businesses affected by the disruption turned to a wireless internet solution from Wimax operator Luminet.

In its previous guise as Urban Wimax, Luminet was the first to commercially launch Wimax services in the UK eight years ago.

The business, formed in 2014 when Urban Wimax acquired platform-as-a-services provider Vital Group, has ploughed £2m into its infrastructure, including a wholly-owned network.

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It operates an Ethernet standard-based WAN in London, offering symmetrical high-speed data connections over long distances.

Jack Knight, COO at trade body the Investment Association, said he had started exploring available options to get back online the second his broadband cut out on 1 April.

“Luminet’s wireless proposition was perfect – fast in all respects, quick to install and great speeds once up and running,” he said. “We can’t tell the difference between its wireless data service and the fibre broadband we had previously.”

Tim Sawyer, CEO of Start Up Loans, added: “After the disruption of the fire, Luminet helped get our main office back online. Luminet’s wireless data services were installed in less than 24 hours and helped us quickly move staff back from our disaster recovery site.”

Luminet CEO Sasha Williamson said that whereas providers such as BT could take a very long time to install an SDSL or fibre broadband line, Luminet could activate a reliable and fast wireless service within 24 hours.

“This means that when there is a disaster, such as fire or flood, we are usually the first port of call,” he said.

“Downtime costs money, which is why we guarantee a 100% always-on internet service, underpinned by our wholly owned and independent wireless and fibre network, alongside our datacentre assets.”

Read more on Telecoms networks and broadband communications

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