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Large WiMax Network Launched In U.K.

Skylink is the first in the U.K. to offer combined data and voice over a WiMax-class network.

InformationWeek Staff

September 2, 2005

2 Min Read

LONDON — Telabria has launched its wide area wireless broadband network after six months of intensive trials in Kent, South East England. Targeted at both residential and business markets, the Skylink service offers customers symmetric broadband speeds up to 10Mbps, as well as voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephone service.

Privately-held Telabria recently secured a round of funding in excess of £1m from individual and institutional investors that includes Faroese Telecom, the national carrier in the Faroe Islands, with further rounds planned for the future.

Skylink is the first network of its kind in the UK to offer combined data and voice over a WiMAX-class network to homes and businesses. The Skylink backbone of high-capacity fiber and licensed band microwave links covers over 1,300 square kilometers making it one of the largest next-generation wireless broadband networks in Europe, and brings a whole new class of broadband services to Kent’s population of 675,000 households and 60,000 businesses.

The initial roll out of Skylink includes the city of Canterbury and borough of Swale, with additional urban, suburban and rural areas planned as part of Telabria’s ongoing Skylink network expansion throughout 2005 and 2006.

Jim Baker, Telabria’s CEO, said, "In the UK symmetric broadband services are scarce outside metropolitan areas. In Kent, less than 16% of the telephone exchanges support symmetric DSL (SDSL) which means customers will be highly challenged to take advantage of emerging technologies such as VoIP and video conferencing which demand fast upload capability."

Copper network based SDSL is range limited, with 2Mbps services restricted to within just 1.6km of an exchange. Wi-MAX – the emerging standard for wireless networking – does not suffer from these limitations and Skylink delivers a range of broadband packages from 1.5Mbps to over 10Mbps at distances up to 20km from the base station.

Skylink Pro provides a 20:1 symmetric service with 1.5Mbps and 3Mbps services while the Ultra premium 10:1 business-class package, offers 5Mbps and 10Mbps.

In addition to its Skylink broadband network, Telabria has established a portfolio of throughout the South East, including fourteen in Central London. Subscribers to Skylink will network when away from home or the office, enabling them to check email, surf the web Telabria is also working with public transportation companies to add Wi-Fi hotspots commuters.

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