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WiMAX expands the set of technical options, and depending on the local circumstances, may offer a substantially lower deployment cost. MEUs may elect to deploy communication services via wireless technology, instead of wireline. The new wireless technology is also being deployed to support MAN-sized networks in non-MEU communities and by new types of players. WISPs have emerged in a number of rural communities in the USA and abroad. While most of the WISPs are providing retail services directly to end-users, there are some that have adopted an open access/wholesale model.
Finally, a number of municipalities are facilitating entry by investor-owned wireless service providers by providing access to government buildings and schools for antenna siting, and in some cases, by allowing antennas to be placed on street lights and other municipally owned property for wireless technologies based on small cell sites (short-range wireless technologies like Wi-Fi).
For communities that do decide to deploy MAN-sized access infrastructure, the wireless technologies are important because they expand the range of players and technical options for leveraging existing investments, thereby helping to lower the cost of a municipal deployment. For example, wireless can be used to economically extend public access to municipal fibre or to local government intranet backbone services.
Historically, communications systems have been rigid, forming linear chains of content, channel and device. Conversely, today’s communications systems are inherently flexible, allowing for a mix and match relationship between components. This flexibility provides an opportunity for the convergence of established communications systems and the creation of new services (Figure 9.1).
The international telecom equipment market is valued at more than $300 billion, growing at approximately 15 % a year, faster than most other industries. At year-end 2004, revenues from telecom services worldwide were $1.25 trillion, with 1.2 billion GSM subscribers worldwide, representing more than half of all telephone subscribers. Further, there will be more than 3 billion mobile subscribers in the world by 2010, more than double the current subscriber levels (Figure 9.2).
Broadband is becoming a necessity for many residential and business subscribers worldwide. There are close to 150 million broadband subscribers today, while there were close to 130 million broadband subscribers worldwide at the end of 2004, a 30 % growth from 2003 (Figure 9.3).
High-speed broadband access will be a principal driver of telecom equipment revenue over the next 4 years, helped by increased government support and a stronger economic environment. The broadband access revenue will triple between 2004 and 2008, from $33 billion to $101 billion (Figure 9.4).
The fundamentals for continued growth remain sound.
The Business of WiMAX Deepak Pareek © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Figure 9.1 Global telecom spending
Figure 9.2 Broadband users worldwide
World total users TOP 24 in penetration Ireland Japan Bermuda Austria Liechtenstein Singapore Switzerland Canada Netherlands United States Denmark Sweden
=152.80% =153 50% =l 54.00% =156.0ô% =156
0% 156.! 0%
= 62 90%
=3 63.30% =163.80% 166 11%
66.30% 88,70% 69.90% 73.60%
0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% 80.00%
Figure 9.3 Broadband user penetration
Figure 9.4 Worldwide broadband subscribers according to technology used
9.1 BROADBAND WIRELESS TRENDS: BUILDING MOMENTUM
The momentum of broadband wireless is starting to build. Technologies such as local multipoint distribution system (LMDS) and MMDS emerged in the market with much fanfare a few years ago - but without much success. However, vendors continued to develop second-generation products to eradicate major obstacles, including line-of-sight problems and expensive, highly technical installation. New products and applications have reversed this trend (Figure 9.5).
Thanks to technological advances and the emergence of WiMAX, broadband wireless is gaining momentum. Technological advancements are a key reason for the take-off of BWA infrastructure in recent years. The emerging WiMAX standard will probably play a role in making wireless broadband access more widespread than anything else before it.