Pipex Wireless, a joint venture between Pipex Communications plc and Intel Corp. focused on developing and providing wireless services, has announced that it is to deploy a trial WiMAX network in Milton Keynes. Base station equipment and subscriber terminals will be provided by wireless solutions provider Airspan Networks and Ericsson will build and operate the radio network and required roof-top infrastructure.

The trial has been designed and planned in close cooperation with Milton Keynes Council, which already has an existing broadband supply relationship with Pipex. Trial base stations will be sited in areas of the town to evaluate WiMAX product propositions to both business and residential customers and to provide coverage where DSL broadband provision is currently limited or unavailable. The trial will commence in December 2006 and continue for six months, and if successful, will be extended to provide wider coverage across Milton Keynes.

Pipex Wireless will initially deploy five Airspan HiperMAX-Micro base stations and provide services using indoor and outdoor subscriber terminals, both with integrated WiFi available. Working with Milton Keynes Council, Pipex Wireless will initially offer the trial to approximately 500 users, providing connection speeds of between 2 Mbps and 10 Mbps. Currently, due to its telecoms infrastructure, many Milton Keynes residents either have a limited broadband service or are unable to get broadband Internet connections. The trial service offers faster connection speeds and the ability to send, as well as receive, high volumes of data. Further details of the service proposition will be provided in a release closer to the launch date.

“WiMAX is an exciting opportunity for Pipex and we’re delighted that we are now able to trial the technology in a customer environment,” said Mike Read, CEO of Pipex. “This will be the first such trial in the UK and positions Pipex Wireless as the lead WiMAX provider in the market.”

Milton Keynes Council Head of IT and e-Government, Steven Jewell, added, “We are pleased to have attracted Pipex Wireless to trial WiMAX in Milton Keynes. This reflects our continuing commitment to the digital economy in our town and to improving broadband provision.”

Jacqueline Hey, managing director of Ericsson’s North West Europe Market Unit, said, “We are delighted that our company has been selected to engineer the Milton Keynes WiMAX network with Pipex Wireless. Ericsson has extensive global experience of wireless deployment using multiple vendor and technology platforms and our recent success in outsourcing makes us an ideal operating partner as Pipex Wireless builds its own capabilities.”

Airspan's marketing and product vice president, Paul Senior, commented, "It’s early days for WiMAX in the UK, but we’re excited with the progress so far. The combination of range and throughput demonstrated at the Stratford-upon-Avon trial site has helped Pipex Wireless’s readiness for customer operations. The deployment of the future proof HiperMAX-Micro platform with integrated WiMAX/WiFi in Milton Keynes demonstrates our continuing commitment to help Pipex develop a robust WiMAX deployment model."