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Nokia FastMile enhances LTE networks to boost rural broadband

Nokia launches a long term evolution radio service called FastMile, which will allow operators to boost mobile broadband services in rural areas

Nokia has launched a long term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband service, called FastMile, to help mobile network operators (MNOs) improve rural broadband coverage while making best use of available radio spectrum.

The FastMile service offers higher data rates, two adn a half times the throughput and 12 times the coverage area of a comparable mobile network for residential phone, TV and broadband connections, claimed Nokia.

It said the service would allow MNOs to profitably build on their existing macro radio network base and provide home broadband services to rural properties of a superior standard to that available through a traditional internet service provider (ISP).

FastMile works using an outdoor modem with a self-tuning, high gain antenna to provide over three and a half times the typical radius increase compared with a standard 4G network. This will connect to an indoor Wi-Fi and gigabit Ethernet router.

At the back end, a specific fixed mobile radio access network (RAN) antenna topology combined with advanced interference mitigation by Nokia’s smart scheduler will deliver the throughput boost. A cloud-based controller running on Nokia’s AirFrame will guarantee throughput levels.

The supplier hopes that the technology will find ready users among customers of both MNOs, which will be able to use FastMile to address a new customer base using their existing LTE network and spectrum assets, while wireline operators will be further able to expand their reach.

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“Nokia FastMile gives operators an exciting opportunity to tap a new customer base and bring the internet to millions who do not have access to global communications networks,” said Nokia’s head of advanced mobile network systems, Thorsten Robrecht.

“It’s also a cost-effective way of taking into use underutilised spectrum in rural areas.”

Ken Rehbehn, senior research analyst at 451 Research, added: “We are in an internet era, yet availability of ubiquitous and affordable broadband service remains an elusive goal in many rural locations worldwide.

“By leveraging an existing mobile network grid to offer fixed broadband access, mobile operators benefit from service growth while addressing the vital community need for improved connectivity that boosts economic prospects and expands educational opportunities.”

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