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All fifteen 3.4GHz wireless licences sold
Thursday 19 June 2003 18:32:00 by Andrew Ferguson

BBC News Online carries the news that three companies have won all 15 licences that cover the UK. The licences effectively carve the UK up in a similar fashion to how the cable industry has worked to date, though in this case 13 of the 15 licences are held by one company.

Wireless has the potential to get low latency broadband to the majority of the UK with a minimal amount of infrastructure. The real question now that the auction is over is - when will the first commercial services on the 3.4GHz range appear. The real danger now is that the licence holders may rush to cover what they view as the profitable areas, which will probably be urban areas that already have one or more broadband options. Leaving the rural users to wait yet again, perhaps to 2005 and beyond.

Though the timeframe is shrinking for the wireless startups, BT Wholesale broadband is gaining speed again in its rollout and is looking like it will achieve and maybe exceed an 80% of households coverage figure by the end of 2003, and march onto meeting a 90% figure for 2005. This would leave only around 3-4 million households not connected to an ADSL enabled exchange.


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