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High-speed broadband wireless services go nationwide

January 7, 2000
Web posted at: 9:12 a.m. EST (1412 GMT)

by Denise Pappalardo

Network World Fusion

(IDG) -- Advanced Radio Telecom (ART) is rolling out its second-generation broadband wireless network that will eventually link cities around the U.S. and overseas.

The Bellevue, Wash. wireless service provider yesterday announced that it would build metropolitan area networks in 10 cities by year-end that will allow business users to set up virtual private networks or connect to the Internet at up to 100M bit/sec over its 38GHz wireless networks.

ART already has one network up and running in San Jose and plans on having metropolitan area networks online in Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle and Washington, D.C., early in the second quarter. By year-end ART plans on having networks up and running in Boston, Dallas, New York, Orange County, Calif., Phoenix and San Diego.

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ART's next generation wireless broadband services will offer faster point-to-point connectivity at lower rates, says Robert McCambridge, president and chief operating officer at ART. Customers will be able to buy 10M bit/sec access to the Internet, for example, for the same price they were paying for a 1M bit/sec connection, he says.

Instead of deploying fiber optic facilities, ART deploys wireless access devices at a customer's site that transmit data to ART's metropolitan area network. This eliminates the high cost associated with deploying fiber-optic networks, McCambridge says. On average it costs about $1 million to deploy new fiber-optic cable to an office building, compared to about $70,000 to connect the same office building to ART's network using wireless technology, he says. The savings are passed on to customers, he claims.

ART will be connecting all of its metropolitan networks over Qwest's nationwide backbone based on a relationship the two companies forged last year. This is the first time that ART is offering its customers end-to-end network support.

The wireless service provider's previous offerings were lower in speeds, maxing out at 45M bit/sec, and were local in nature. When ART brings up a new city, it will first only sell wholesale services to other ISPs, application service providers or interexchange carriers. But within 12 months of a city being brought online, ART will start offering broadband wireless services directly to business users.

ART plans on taking its second-generation broadband wireless deployment overseas as well. But ART hasn't announced when it will start building the wireless networks. The wireless service provides wireless licenses in the 26GHz and 38GHz spectrum in the U.K. and throughout Scandinavia.

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