UK Broadband CEO: Fixed wireless is solution to fast broadband rollout woes

By Peter Gothard
12 Sep 2012 View Comments
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As newly appointed Culture Secretary Maria Miller launches a campaign to cut down on ‘bureaucratic' process in the rollout of ultrafast broadband, members of the telecoms community believe true progress lies in finer consideration of the technology being used to provide superfast connections for all.

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"We're trying to get everyone connected by 2015 – that's not possible purely with pipes," said UK Broadband CEO Nicholas James at yesterday's ‘Broadband Britain' Westminster eForum conference.

James' solution lies in the comparatively underdiscussed field of fixed wireless connections.

Over and above fibre to the home (FTTH) or fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), said James, fixed wireless towers have a capacity for targeted, high-quality fast connections that may turn out both cheaper for a government with a mere £680m to spend on ultrafast broadband until 2015 and easier to physically implement in rural areas.

James remarked that fixed wireless solutions offer "a wider spectrum of deployment", which could lead to faster speeds over respectable distances.

"We can do [ultrafast broadband] up to 15km from the base station. That's significant rural coverage, delivering guaranteed speeds, even on a contended network," revealed James.

With the UK's target for the 2015 rollout set at achieving minimum download speeds of 24Mbps, compared with 30Mbps in Europe, James is adamant that fixed wireless can attain that goal more easily than many fibre solutions.

"[It] can deliver 45Mbps up to 7km from the base station. In contrast, fibre cabinets can only do this 1.5km from the cabinet," stated James. "After 9km, we can still meet the EU 30Mpbs [target]."

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