Wired: How Bluwan aims to bring 400Mbit wireless broadband to the UK

March 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

As you know by now these day I write for a number of high quality publications and none better than Wired. Here’s an extract from my latest feature for Wired UK. You can find the full feature here. I hope you enjoy my look at what has the potential to be a game chaning technology for the deployment of next generation broadband all over the world…

How Bluwan aims to bring 400Mbit wireless broadband to the UK

In the UK 10 million people have never used the internet. It will take four years before just two thirds of the population will have access to “superfast” 24MB broadband. The average broadband user only gets 45 percent of the speed their service provider advertises. The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the government‘s main advisory body, says nationwide fibre optic broadband will cost up to £28.8 billion to implement. It’s a gloomy picture, but what if it all went away?

Imagine a different image: a country where every single person has access to 400Mbit broadband. Where mobile phone signals are locked on full coverage and connection speeds perform at their theoretical maximums, regardless of location. Imagine an end to digging up the streets, where a nationwide wireless infrastructure need not disrupt busy cities or picturesque countryside. What if the return on investment could be repaid in two years?

It sounds like distant fantasy, but remarkably it isn’t. Even more surprising is the technology to make this happen already has commercial installations and will be deployed in the UK this year.

The company behind it is Bluwan, an offshoot of French electronics giant Thales. If the latter’s name sounds familiar it is because Thales is a major player in the aerospace and defence sector. Thales developed a technology to send high speed broadband wirelessly with military grade security to troops during the second Gulf War. Realising its commercial potential Thales created Bluwan in 2006 and five years and $20m of R&D later it came up with “Fibre Through The Air” (FTTA).

“The promise with traditional wireless technologies that we’ve seen in the past is that of over promise and under deliver and that’s an uphill battle when you’re in the wireless space,” explains Bluwan’s chief marketing officer Shayan Sanyal. He gestures with his hands, “You have to fight with ‘I’ve heard it all before, what’s new?'”

The answer is a lot… READ ON

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