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Wireless Broadband Goes Live In U.K.

A wireless broadband service based on UMTS TDD technology went live in the suburbs of London Friday.

The service, provided UK Wireless, a subsidiary of Asian communicators company PCCW, is available to about 300,000 homes in an area west of London. Users have a choice of either 512 Kbps or 1 Mps throughput and service plans starting at about 18 pounds per month or about US$32.

The service is based on UMTS TDD technology from IPWireless. U.S. wireless carrier Nextel is reportedly testing the same technology in addition to conducting field trials of competing technology from Flarion Technologies based on pre-standard 802.20 infrastructure equipment.

WiMAX, or pre-standard 802.16 technology, is another wireless broadband technology that has received a lot of attention, but no certified WiMAX equipment is expected to be available for another year. By contrast, in addition to the UK Wireless installation near London, wireless broadband using IPWireless' UMTS TDD equipment is already in commercial operation in Maui, Hawaii, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia, Portugal, and Germany.