Bangalore’s WiMax Dream: Will We Won’t We?

by Vinaya HS on May 22, 2007

in Technology,The Bangalore Blog

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“Bangalore will be unwired,” they said. The only wires I see coming out are the ones being dug up under the guile of the road-widening project. We were supposed to be hopping on to the wireless bandwagon by February, 2007. That got shifted to April, 2007. Ok. We Bangaloreans understand a delay. We are used to it. But, it’s already end-May and there’s still no unwiring in sight. In all probability, we won’t be unwired this year. What a pity!

The bureaucracy’s become a master at dishing out excuses. Here’s the latest one:

MN Vidyashankar, Secretary IT, BT and S&T, says that the delay in implementing the project is due to the expansion of the city limits and the inclusion of Greater Bangalore due to which the project will now cover 743 sq km instead of the projected 226 sq km.

“We are in the process of selecting more service providers to provide the connectivity to the expanded area and do not want to offer the service in bits and pieces by providing wireless Internet access only in parts of the city like some of the Indian and American cities.”

Source: The New Indian Express

How’s that for an excuse?

It’s not as if Bangalore abruptly exploded into 743 sq km – from 226 sq km – overnight. Didn’t the experts know the dimensions of Bangalore – and the scope of the project – earlier? Further, a big-bang approach is the worst way to implement any IT project. Surely, we knew that. Right? After all, we are the Silicon Valley in this side of the world.

There’s a reason why the other Indian and American cities are adopting a piecemeal approach: it’s the correct way. Or do we know some magic formulae that they don’t?

What’s worse is that every who’s who in the WiMax industry is setting up shop in India with ambitious plans.

Last week, Aperto Networks, builder of the world’s most advanced WiMax base stations and subscriber units for fixed, portable, and mobile applications, announced that it has significantly expanded its offices in Bangalore, India. Their new facility is almost four times larger than the company’s previous regional headquarters and will house teams in engineering, marketing, and customer service for India and the global market.

And today, Solectek Corporation, a U.S.-based leading manufacturer of WiMax equipment, announced that it is forming an operating unit within India which will manage sales, marketing, customer support and local assembly operations.

My guess is that these companies will sit around twiddling their thumbs, while we and the bureaucracy wait for Bangalore to reach its correct vital statistics.

If you have been salivating for wireless broadband – like I have – the best you can do now is to pick up a rose, pluck out its petals, and play the “Will We Won’t We” game.

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{ 1 comment }

Vinayak R May 23, 2007 at 2:49 PM

Yes, We Will:))

Basis: Article in ET dated 23rd May ’07:
Global forum seeks govt help to push WiMax as 3G norms

Joji Thomas Philip NEW DELHI

THE global WiMax Forum has sought the Indian government’s support in its endeavour towards getting the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to include WiMax as part of International Mobile Communications – 2000 (IMT-2000) standards. The forum has asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Wireless and Planning Wing to support its cause in the upcoming ITU meet in Kyoto, Japan.
Indian cellular operators have, however, opposed the move and said that the DoT must not support the forum’s proposal until further details such as compatibility and interference issues with regard to WiMax are available.
IMT-2000 is the global standard for third generation (3G) wireless communications as defined by the International Telecommunication Union. It has defined five standards which are followed globally for 3G services. In January 2007, a proposed sixth standard (WiMax) was submitted into ITU by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and supported by the WiMax Forum. Despite opposition from many global telecom and network majors, it is anticipated that WiMax will be approved as an IMT-2000 technology by 2007-end.
The forum has been pushing for the inclusion of WiMax services under the IMT-2000 and has said that this would ‘offer significant benefits’ to the mobile community by assuring the global delivery of Wireless Broadband Internet services at the lowest cost.
“There is a solid basis therefore, to support the argument that mobile WiMax should be included within the IMT family of radio interface technologies. Embracing this approach will ensure that operators have access to the wireless technologies necessary to meet their long-term capacity and business plan requirements,” the global WiMax Forum said. Another reason cited by the Forum for inclusion of WiMax in the IMT-2000 family is that that operators in developing countries are also interested in deploying broadband solutions based upon mobile WiMax. The Forum has added that the move will offer operators, especially in developing countries, an additional migration path to consider as they strive to add network capabilities to support a larger suite of value-added broadband services.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the body representing all GSM operators has told the DoT that “before any such proposal for the inclusion of WiMAX as a member of IMT-2000 family can be taken up, it is imperative that the compatibility/interference issues are extensively studied…”

RCOM to launch WiMax in Pune & Bangalore in June

Nevin John MUMBAI
RELIANCE Communications (RCOM) will soon launch its wireless broadband technology commonly known as WiMax in Pune and Bangalore in June. After assessing the market response, the company will extend the WiMax service to other cities such as Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Delhi. The move that targets the three million wireless internet users in the country, is expected to give first-mover advantage to the company. Bharti Airtel, VSNL and BSNL have also tested the new technology and planning to roll out in the near future, said sources familiar with the situation. In India, WiMax has been launched by Aircel Cellular in Chennai for business customers.

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