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10/30/2008
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WiMax Coming To Remote Regions Of Vermont

FairPoint, Nortel, and Airspan Networks are investing in building out the 3.65 GHZ spectrum to help spur the use of fixed WiMax in many regions.

As one of the most sparsely-populated states in the U.S., Vermont has struggled, often unsuccessfully, to deliver broadband Internet service to its residents in isolated areas.

Now, FairPoint Communications has announced it will install fixed WiMax technology over wide areas of the state to bring broadband to residents in some of the state's most remote areas. FairPoint has been taking over most telephone service in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire from Verizon Communications.

Nortel and Airspan Networks reported this week that they will supply 802.16d WiMax equipment for the Vermont deployment, which, because it will operate in the 3.65 GHz band, is unlicensed and relatively inexpensive. Scott Wickware, general manager of Nortel, said he believes the Vermont rollout is the largest 3.65 GHz WiMax scheduled for installation to date.

Telecommunications service providers have usually upgrading existing landlines and installed fiber optic cables in some areas while some residents have turned to satellite reception, which has fast speeds on the downlink, but painfully slow speeds on the uplink.

Noting that it is less expensive to use wireless in many regions, Nortel said the FCC's decision last year to approve the use of the 3.65 GHZ spectrum is helping spur the use of fixed WiMax in many regions that previously weren't able to obtain broadband technology.

"Millions of homes and businesses in the U.S. have no access to broadband and carriers are increasingly seeing the 3.65 GHz band (as) the most cost-effective way f delivering services to meet this pent-up demand," said Eric Stonestrom, Airspan CEO, in a statement.

The Vermont deployment will generally reach a few miles, but up to 10 miles where signals have little or no interference and have no obstructions. Predictions of transmission speeds have varied, ranging from 1 Mbps to as much as 5 Mbps in some cases.

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