BT to offer converged fixed mobile service
BT has named the first six UK cities - Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Cardiff and Westminster - into which it will rollout wide area WiFi networks as part of its plans to create a first phase of 12 Wireless Cities across the UK.
BT says it is working with Intel to develop the technology and that WiFi will be just one of a range of integrated technologies.
"Intel..is sharing its expertise of developing these services in cities like Philadelphia in the US and was one of the lead organisations involved in the Wireless Westminster project. BT's strategy is to work with Intel, other leading partners in wireless solutions and local authorities to roll out a wide area of wireless broadband in metropolitan areas. This will be based around wireless broadband in the home, BT OpenZone Wi-Fi hotspots, Wireless Cities, and high speed mobile access."
BT said that leisure and business applications, many developed by councils with BT and partners, would be available to a wide range of devices, including the forthcoming WiFi version of BT Fusion and a similar product currently being developed for corporate customers.
These handsets will use the wireless broadband network to make calls over broadband at landline rates and provide a rich media experience, such as video calling and access to internet applications and services.'¨
BT launched its consumer BT Fusion product last year and earlier this month announced a service for corporates that will use a combined WiFi cellular handset able to make use of corporate WiFi hotspots to receive and make calls at costs lower than using the cellular network
Wireless rollout is most advanced in Westminster where the Wireless Westminster project has been running for a year. BT said: "In Westminster, where the project is now moving on to its second phase, the pilot results showed that after wireless technology enabled the council to expand the public safety network, residents on housing estates now feel safer walking in their area after dark."
The Westminster City Council estimated that the initial Wireless Westminster project could generate a return on investment of £5.3million net present value over three years as a result of "productivity increases worth in excess of £2.6 million per year from 1,400 'road warriors' in the different council departments....improvements in service, better response times and savings in accommodation costs.... [which] could be as much as £0.9million per year."
By changing the transmission of CCTV data for new installations from fixed wire to broadband wireless the council estimated it could save up to 86 percent of the current estimated cost (£34,000) of a camera installation.
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Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.