As a member of the forum Digiweb will be able to promote any issues that may arise with relevance to the Irish market and glean expertise and knowledge from its fellow members, such as Intel, Fujitsu, Proxim and Nokia, according to Colm Piercy, managing director of Digiweb.
The WiMax Forum was established to promote and certify compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products and platforms. In particular, the group promotes industry-wide acceptance of the IEEE 802.16 and ETSI HiperMAN wireless MAN standards, which will result in greater range, mobility and speed in wireless broadband services.
Digiweb has been active of late. Most recently it launched residential and business fixed wireless broadband services in Cork city and county. The company already provides services in Dublin, Meath and Louth and aims to launch base stations in the midlands and border regions before the end of the year. “We aim to launch a new base-station every two to three weeks from here on in,” said Piercy speaking with ElectricNews.Net.
WiMax offers high-speed wireless data connections over a range of around 30 miles. The technology features both increased range and download speeds compared to Wi-Fi (802.11x), which is intended to provide coverage over small areas. Along with Wi-Fi, other fixed-wireless broadband systems currently exist, including hardware that can deliver services over several miles. But many of these also require “line of sight” between a transmitter and receiver to function — WiMax does not.
By the beginning of 2005 Digiweb intends to provide fixed wireless broadband services to approximately 50 percent of the country. “We will be able to offer broadband services to people who do not have access to DSL,” said Piercy. “There are a lot of people out there who, if they live over 4 kilometres from an exchange will be unable to access broadband services. Our fixed wireless broadband services have a range of up to 20 kilometres.”
ComReg awarded 38 fixed wireless broadband licenses in March 2004. “We were lucky, we managed to get enough licenses to enable us to cover about half the country,” said Piercy. Other companies which received licenses were Budget Wireless, European Access Providers (Leap), Irish Broadband Internet Services, Last Mile Wireless, Mid West Network Solutions, Net2Cell and Real Broadband.