Woosh says more spectrum needed for robust services

Woosh has received backing from submitters including Alcatel-Lucent and Intel

Woosh wireless fears the government is not leaving enough space in the radio network for the delivery of robust broadband services.

The comments come as the government announced a December auction of 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz spectrum. The planned sale will sell spectrum in bundles of up to 40Mhz, which some suppliers feel is not wide enough.

“More spectrum equals a bigger wireless pipe which allows you to provide customers with a more robust service. It makes it simpler to engineer the network,” says Woosh CEO Kevin Wiley.

“The reason why we want more spectrum is to offer more products and richer content over the network,” he says.

Wiley says Australia has a bundle width of 100MHz at 2.3GHz and in US, 70-100MHz. 30MHz would be a minimum.

Woosh believes the width of the spectrum won’t affect bandwith speeds much, as that is affected by how networks are engineered, the devices used and other factors.

“It will be similar to DSL speeds and similar to what we offer today. A Woosh customer within our coverage can enjoy 1.5MB/s on downlink and 500-700kbit/s on uplink,” Wiley told Computerworld.

Woosh has received backing from submitters including Alcatel-Lucent and Intel.

Alcatel-Lucent feels voice and “lighter services” such as mobile broadband would find 30MHz sufficient, but more sophisticated fixed wireless services would need greater capacity.

“Alcatel-Lucent’s experience is that requirements for higher throughputs and higher download volumes is ever increasing, underpinned by higher reliance upon the internet, working from home, gaming, VoIP and emerging applications expected to dominate future traffic requirements such as on-demand entertainment.

“Such assumptions could easily underpin a spectrum requirement of 60MHz or more in the 2008/09 timeframe, at a time when competitive networks will likely to be launched,” says the company’s submission to the Ministry of Economic Development.

Ric Clark, Alcatel-Lucent chief technology officer for Australasia, told Computerworld that the New Zealand government had made “a good response” in its sale announcement.

While wireless triple-play services in built-up areas might need greater bandwith, this was an “unlikely scenario” for New Zealand. Governments also had to balance the availability of spectrum between wide pipes for a small number of suppliers and having more suppliers, Clark says.

Fellow infrastructure supplier Intel says while it believes broadband wireless access is possible with 30MHz, it would encourage the Ministry of Economic Development to offer more.

Intel also called on operators to cordinate the construction of their networks to minimise interference.

However, industry body the WiMax Forum appears content with the government’s proposals. It had recommended a minimum 30MHz of spectrum per operator, with a further 5-10MHz to provide protective guard bands.

In last week’s announcement of a December auction, communications minister David Cunliffe said the auction design includes four nationwide blocks, suitable for WiMax operators which, in combination with the managed spectrum park, allows for six or more service providers in an area.

There will be four further nationwide blocks, suitable for either advanced mobile cellular services (that is, paired spectrum), or additional WiMax-type use.

The auction will have an acquisition limit per bidder of 40MHz (including guardbands) and include a managed spectrum park for regional and local users with a total of 45MHz of spectrum (which allows for two or three local WiMax providers).

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Tags alcatel-lucentspectrumNetworking & Telecomms IDWooshintel

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