UK Broadband (UKB), Hong Kong-based PCCW’s British broadband unit, has announced that it has begun work on a project in partnership with Capita, Swindon Borough Council’s IT service provider, under which it will roll out a hybrid microwave/Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. The operator says the new infrastructure will offer coverage across the borough, and claims that its deployment will allow for a host of new services while offering ‘significant savings on Swindon Borough Council’s current communications budget’.
In terms of the infrastructure itself, UKB notes that the core transmission network will be going out to 63 service sites via point-to-point and point-to-multipoint microwave links, with LTE services then being layered over this network to deliver what it claims will be ‘the first town/city-wide 4G coverage in the UK’. The hybrid network will eventually provide a complete wireless city solution for both the public sector and businesses, while local residents are expected to be able to gain access to the 4G offering via retail partnerships. In the launch phase, services will be limited to fixed connectivity solutions, but UKB has said that Mobile Wi-Fi (Mi-Fi) devices will be offered from September 2012, at which date mobile data services will also be made available.
Commenting on the development, UKB’s CEO Nicholas James noted: ‘UK Broadband is leading the way when it comes to commercial LTE deployments in the UK … Not only are we rolling out some of the UK’s first commercial LTE networks, we are also demonstrating how this technology can be used by local authorities in urban areas to deliver next generation services and save money. By deploying our unique combination of very high speed microwave and high capacity multi-channel LTE we can deliver truly wireless towns and cities. We can also deliver super-fast home broadband in line with the government’s broadband ambitions.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, at the beginning of March this year UKB announced the switch-on of what it claimed was not only the UK’s first LTE deployment, but also the first Time Division LTE (TD-LTE) 3.5GHz deployment in the world. The operator at that date plans to operate on a wholesale basis, noting that it was working with partners with a view to inaugurating commercial services over the infrastructure from May 2012 to businesses, consumers and the public sector. Initially the network will cover the Southbank and Borough areas of Southwark, a district of Central London.