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The X-factor in wireless broadband
Tuesday 20 May 2003 13:13:00 by Andrew Ferguson

X-Systems, with its X-broadband system is promising to have a wireless broadband solution available to areas of the UK within four weeks if interest can be shown from 50 or more users. From information on their website, they state that the system will be powered either by a leased line or satellite backhaul from the transmitter. Using satellite access would seriously degrade the quality of service, and for many users not constitute what they want from Broadband. Satellite Internet access has the inherent problems of a device 20,000km away producing a high latency, in other words no online gaming. No details are apparent for when the cross-over from satellite to leased line access would occur.

The headline pricing looks attractive at £25+VAT per month and £149+VAT for installation. To find out further details you need to register on their website and after a few days an email with further details should be received. These further information makes for interesting reading, excerts are shown below:

"Because our solution is based on a distributed community Internet connection, it is necessary to create a formally recognised body which can coordinate the users requirements. We have been guided in this process by legal experts and they have created all of the necessary legal documents and forms in our Community Association Pack (CAP) ... Second, your broadband community needs to purchase our Community Association Pack. With 50 members, this will cost just £10 per household - £499.00 (+VAT) total. With more members the cost per person decreases. The pack consists of a number of documents, which enable you to form a local community organisation, which can purchase our services on behalf of the local community."

For a company that is looking to provide a commercial service, and therefore make money from you if the project goes ahead, it is somewhat unusual to ask for a £499+VAT fee for documentation and forms. The scheme sounds very like a franchise type operation, though taking money up front is something that people need to be careful of. In the past this type of setup has been used by various scams, and while X-Systems may well be legitimate, the process used raises concerns that suggest better to be careful, than waste money.


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