UK Broadband, a fully owned subsidiary of Hong Kong telecom group PCCW, who have been running the Netvigator wireless broadband service in the Thames Valley area since May 2004 look set to rethink their national roll-out plans. More details are provided by John Walko over on CommsDesign.com. Though any talk of scaling back the roll-out is played down over on The Register.
UK Broadband are said to be looking at a number of roll-out scenarios now, which range from just covering one area of the UK, to around 75% of UK households. The company holds all 15 of the regional licences for the 3.4GHz frequency band across the country. If the company decides to only partially cover the UK, the recent news by Ofcom to allow companies to trade existing licences will hopefully allow community or commercial operators to acquire the unused licences.
One could see any scaling back of roll-out as a sign of the strangle-hold the BT Group has on the UK Broadband market. Certainly when Netvigator first appeared a lot of people got it because they were outside the BT limits at that time, but with the relaxed limits the number of ADSL black spots may be too small to justify widespread roll-outs. The key during 2005 for any competitor to BT, is to ensure that they roll-out products that not just compete with the standard BT Wholesale products, but actually offer options not available elsewhere.
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