Swisscom Testing WiMAX for Rural Internet Access

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Switzerland's Swisscom says that it is testing the WiMAX wireless standard in the municipality of Boltigen in the canton of Berne. Installations in the first test households are in place and pilot trials are successfully under way. High speed data transmission via the telephone line cannot be guaranteed in all parts of the country due to topological and technical constraints hence the trials of the wireless option.

Swisscom is conducting the WiMAX trials in conjunction with the municipality of Boltigen and the Swiss Association for Mountain Regions.

"In today's information society, a high-quality communications infrastructure is of vital importance in peripheral geographic regions, helping to safeguard jobs and stem the flow of migration to metropolitan areas," says Thomas Egger, Director of the SAB.

Looking ahead to the future basic service mandate from 2008, Swisscom is seeking alternative technologies for the provision of high-speed Internet access in areas where this has not been possible until now. The basic service concession for the period 2008 - 2017 also covers technology-neutral broadband Internet access. The current tests with the new WiMAX technology are part of Swisscom's ongoing efforts to set up a nationwide broadband network in Switzerland. Broadband coverage in Switzerland currently exceeds 98%.

Swisscom trainees have completed installation in some of the twenty households participating in the pilot trial and the first series of tests are under way and look very promising. The goal is to provide users with broadband Internet access speeds of 600 kbps (download) and 100 kbps (upload). Operation and evaluation of the technical tests will be carried out by network specialists until the end of the pilot in January 2008."

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