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BellSouth Offers WiMAX To Gulf Coast

In more evidence that it is embracing WiMAX as a key strategy for delivering broadband, BellSouth said Tuesday that it will extend the wireless high-speed service to customers in Hurricane Katrina-devastated Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss.

The former regional Bell operating company (RBOC) said the pre-WiMAX service will feature downstream speeds up to 1.5Mbps. The firm has installed similar service in some Georgia communities and has offered the service to businesses in New Orleans. The two largest former RBOCs--Verizon Communications and AT&T (formerly SBC Communications)--have been using fiber for advanced broadband communications.

"As BellSouth strategically expands wireless broadband service across our region, we considered it an obvious choice to use this innovative technology for disaster recovery," said John McCullouch, president of the firm's Mississippi operations, in a statement.

The Atlanta-based firm lost several regional offices and suffered serious damage to several others as a result of Hurricane Katrina. BellSouth officials have said they are using pre-WiMAX technology primarily to bring broadband to rural customers and now, as it turns out, to disaster victims.