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Verizon Unit Launches Wireless Broadband Pilot

A business unit of telecom giant Verizon this week launched a pilot program providing broadband wireless service for a small rural town in Virginia.

Businesses and consumers in Grundy, Virginia will now have access to wireless broadband speeds as high as 1.5 Mbps, Verizon Avenue and equipment vendor Alvarion said in a statement. The pilot was launched by Verizon Avenue, a subsidiary of Verizon that provides broadband access typically to multi-family dwelling such as apartment buildings.

Alvarion is provider if pre-standard WiMAX wireless broadband equipment. It says its equipment will be easily be upgradeable to conform with final interoperability standards and testing procedures, which are expected later this year.

The two vendors are working with a local company, Virginia Mountain Micro, which will install and maintain the network equipment and handle customer orders. The service will be available for as little as $29.95 to existing Verizon residential customers and for as little as $59.95 for business customers.