Freedom4′s WiMAX Licence Sold For £12.5m
Milton Keynes WiMAX
But what of Freedom4′s flagship WiMAX project in the UK, in the city of Milton Keynes, where it worked with Milton Keynes Council to form a private limited company called ConnectMK?
ConnectMK is responsible for rolling out a WiMAX network in that city to help address the social and digital exclusion issues within the Milton Keynes area.
“Freedom4 was the WiMAX licence holder and the license, not the company, has been sold,” explained Steven Jewell, chief executive of ConnectMK, and assistant director (IT and eGovernment) at Milton Keynes Council. “Access to the spectrum was sold, not the company, and it still is a business in progress.”
“I have spoken to Graham Currier, and he is having a conversation with UK Broadband,” said Jewell, speaking to eWEEK Europe UK. “Graham will then speak to me about the provision of service, and I expect the issue to be resolved as that meeting takes place.”
“It is too early for me to judge (the outcome of that meeting), and all things can happen, but I do not expect there to be a problem. I expect them to talk to us and we will carry on as we are,” said Jewell.
It remains to be seen what will happen to WiMAX in the UK however as the looming arrival of LTE invites companies to decide upon their 4G technology of choice going forward. Despite Milton Keynes and a few other networks in places such as Stratford upon Avon, WiMAX has not really achieved a great deal of penetration in the UK.
According to the blog of Steve Kennedy, Freedom4 had two blocks of 84MHz of spectrum in the 3.6GHz to 4.2GHz bands, while UK Broadband has spectrum in the 3.4GHz band.
It has been hoped that WiMAX would gain some needed impetus under long-delayed plans to hold an auction for two chunks of radio spectrum, some around 2.6GHz. However it unclear when this auction will now take place.
Kennedy speculates that UK Broadband may be able to leverage the assets of both companies and now use WiMAX for both end-user connections and for wireless backhaul, reducing their need for expensive wired connectivity between sites.
In February this year the WiMax Forum announced that WiMAX was on track to surpass predictions of covering 800 million people by the end of 2010.