In a limited commercial trial, 16,000 customers have already been connected to the network
Huawei and Imagine Communications Group have formed a strategic partnership to deploy a nationwide wireless-to-the-x (WTTx) network in Ireland.
Imagine will use Huawei’s (WTTx) solution to deliver superfast broadband (200Mbps plus) connectivity across Ireland, helping to remove the digital divide between urban and rural areas.
Ireland is a country with a huge contrast between urban and rural areas in terms of network infrastructure. While in urban areas cable availability provides an alternative to the limited fibre-to-the-x (FTTx) experience, it rarely meets the advertised headline speeds of up to 100Mbps, and cannot meet the demand for higher speed 100Mbps plus services, according to Huawei.
It is claimed for 61 per cent of the market in regional and rural areas, x digital subscriber line (xDSL) services can be as slow as 3 Mbps.
Ireland initiated a national broadband plan in 2012 to make 30Mbps broadband services available to every home by 2020. With fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) as the only alternative until now, the challenges and high cost of the deployment of the planned roll-out of FTTP services by commercial operators have yet to materialise, with only 12,000 premises connected.
With the latest 4.5G technologies (such as massive MIMO and massive carrier aggregation), capable of a downlink speed of over 1Gbps and providing a roadmap to 5G, using high performance customer premise equipment (CPE) to connect premises to fibre at a mast is faster to deploy with significantly lower costs compared to fiber access solutions.
WTTx is emerging as a key strategic alternative to FTTx accelerating the delivery of 100 per cent high-speed broadband availability.
“Huawei’s WTTx solution has the capability of providing internet access to everybody everywhere. Working with Imagine in commercial environment, we have optimised our WTTx solution deployed as a purely fixed network alternative to FTTx,” said Mao Dun, vice president of Huawei wireless marketing and solution sales.
“Removing the barriers faced by FTTx deployments to meet the need and demand for superfast broadband, Ireland is an ideal market to demonstrate the ability of the latest WTTx solutions. We look forward to continuing our strategic partnership with Imagine and delivering the best in industry solution.”
In a limited commercial trial of the Imagine LTE fixed wireless access network in selected rural areas with a 70Mbps service, in less than one year 16,000 customers have already been connected with more than 100,000 customers reportedly applying for the service.
With the 3.6GHz 5G licenses secured in the recent spectrum award (May 2017), outside of limited urban areas where high-speed broadband using cable is available, Imagine will be the first operator to provide superfast 100Mbps plus services to the rest of the market. Imagine will commence the roll-out of its network in October with the aim of achieving 85 per cent market coverage by 2019.
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