Swindon gets its fixed wireless service in the end
now wireless broadband after holding spectrum for some years has launched its '4G LTE' service that offers up to 40 Mbps downloads and up to 5 Mbps uploads. The service was first available in London earlier this year, but the launch now over a wider area which includes towns like Reading and Swindon is a major step change.
Swindon is of particular interest as the local council lost £400,000 in a failed WiFi hotspot service, but with the new NOW service and a microwave network due later in the month the council is hoping to save £480,000 over three years, effectively canceling out the previous loss.
The NOW service uses a small Huawei router called a nowBox which customers simply need to plug in and off they go, their online checker gives an estimate of the speeds at a particular address. The service offers three packages ranging in price from £21.50 to £36 a month on a two year contract, all with the same connection speeds, the differentiator being the level of traffic management (prioritisation). Shorter contracts are available, but require you to pay more per month, e.g. the now Lite service rises to £25.50 per month with a £60 setup fee on a 1 month contract.
The level of competition in Swindon is pretty extensive compared to back in 2009, Virgin Media appears to have its cable network available to most properties, and people are posting speed test results that indicate FTTC from Openreach is available to some. The now wireless service does have a short money-back guarantee period, which will allow people to try out the service and see if it beats what is available from the other providers.
The '4G LTE' service from now, is not the same as the 4G mobile services, so do not get the idea that you can buy an LTE capable mobile to use the service. The service is designed for use in fixed locations and utilises 124MHz of spectrum in the 3.5GHz and 3.6GHz bands.