Friday, 26 June 2009

Philippines now the largest WiMax Internet broadband zone in SEA

Alma Anonas-Carpio
Business Mirror
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/component/content/article/52-technology/12329-rp-gets-tag-as-largest-wimax-internet-broadband-zone-in-region.html

AS of June 12, the Philippines became the largest WiMax broadband Internet zone in Southeast Asia. Globe Telecom and Intel lit up the large-area wireless broadband for Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao marking the official rollout of WiMax in the Philippines.

Just as Cavite once served as the staging ground for the Philippine revolution’s spread throughout the archipelago, the province was the proving ground for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax), where computer processor manufacturer Intel Philippines and Globe jointly conducted trial deployments for WiMax. Now, broadband Internet connections over WiMax technology have put underserved areas in the country’s three major islands online.

“Intel is delighted to take part in the launch of Globe Telecom’s WiMax services in the Philippines,” Intel Corp. vice president and Asia-Pacific general manager Navin Shenoy said. “Around the world, service providers and government are deploying fourth-generation [4G] WiMax networks to help bridge the digital divide and bring affordable, high-speed mobile broadband to their citizens.”

WiMax is a wireless broadband Internet access technology that provides high-speed and constant access to the worldwide web across large areas and areas previously inaccessible to Wi-Fi (wireless local access network) broadband users—such as parks and while in transit from city to city. WiMax, Shenoy said, allows its users to access large amounts of data, such as movies and multimedia content on a variety of devices, including desktop personal computers (PC), ultramobile PCs and mini-desktop PCs loaded with the Intel Atom processor, mobile Internet devices, laptops and smart phones.

Shenoy also said WiMax “is the first 4G solution available today that meets the pent-up demand for high-speed, wireless Internet access.” Such access potentially offers businesses outside urban areas, field workers connected to their offices by remote access, health workers in far-flung areas, teachers and students with vital Internet access anywhere, at any time.

According to Shenoy, WiMax “is the right technology, available at the right time, for countries to accelerate broadband in aid of economic recovery.” With the help of “revolutionary” 4G technology, Shenoy said WiMax is extending the reach of broadband Internet connectivity “to more locations than ever before and at more affordable costs.”

Intel Philippines country manager Ricky Banaag said, “The value proposition of 802.16e WiMax is the Internet as it was meant to be: Open, fast and mobile. The commercial rollout represents a significant milestone in the growth of WiMax both globally and domestically. With the rapid growth of mobile devices in the country, Intel believes that Globe Broadband’s WiMax network will further accelerate the adoption of mobile computing in the Philippines.”

Banaag noted that the demand for broadband access is so high worldwide that WiMax has been deployed in 139 countries to serve a market of 430 million people, a number that grows daily. The difference between Wi-Fi and WiMax is that the first one provides wireless broadband within a radius of 30 feet from the hot spot, while the latter signal transmits connectivity over kilometers and is capable of blanketing entire cities with a single signal. WiMax is also compatible with Wi-Fi and will compensate where signals are weak.

Singapore, Taipei and Baltimore in the United States are among the first adopters of WiMax technology and their local government units and law enforcement agencies are now constantly online using Wimax. Shenoy explains WiMax as a technology that “combines the familiarity of Wi-Fi with the mobility of cellular [phone technology] that will deliver personal mobile broadband that moves with you.” Now that WiMax has been launched in the Philippines, “soon, mobile WiMax will blanket large areas—metropolitan, suburban or rural—delivering broadband access at speed similar to existing broadband.”

WiMax service is initially available through Globe Broadband in South Luzon, the Visayas, Cagayan de Oro City and selected areas of Metro Manila for as low as P795 a month. The areas Globe chose to initiate WiMax connectivity were “previously difficult to provide [with] Internet access, infrastructure-wise,” Globe consumer broadband business group head Menchie Orlina said.

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