OCTOBER 11, 2010—Fibre-optic infrastructure specialist i3 Group says its will trial a hybrid fiber/WiMAX infrastructure for unserved areas. Known as Fibrezone, the infrastructure will be deployed for the first time on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales.
i3 Group builds open access infrastructure for rural broadband. The company previously has focused on FTTH architectures via its subsidiaries (for example, see "Fibrecity Holdings unveils UK FTTH network plans").
“Finding a solution to rural connectivity is a real challenge for the industry, and i3 Group’s solution has been under development for some time,” says Elfed Thomas, CEO of i3 Group. “We have now reached the stage where we are ready to trial the technology as the availability of WiMAX 4G spectrum has only recently become available. The infrastructure will be deployed using the Group’s low-cost methodologies which have allowed us to develop a rural model that will be commercially viable with some support from the public purse.”
For the rural Fibrezone solution in North Wales, i3 Group has bought a secure 4G radio spectrum license and will also put to use the Welsh Assembly Government’s investment in the “FibreSpeed” fiber-optic network.
The initial trial will see 300 homes connected in the wards of Aberffraw, Llanfair-yn-Neubwll, and Bryngwran; Carrier Wales will deliver the services. Initial broadband speeds of up to 10 Mbps will be provided and will be bundled with telephone and other services in the future.
The trial aims to demonstrate the capabilities of the model. Assuming success, i3 Group plans to use the scheme to deploy connectivity to other areas with limited access, both in the UK and overseas.
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