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HSDPA Rides the Rails

4:30 PM -- For countless eons, humankind has dreamed of being able to get connected on their laptops while aboard the train. Now, finally, this dream is coming to pass in... Australia. Lucky Kangaroos! That and so much more in this week's wireless broadband roundup.

HSDPA rides the rails Down Under
In an A$85 million (US$69 million) deal, Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) will deploy its Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)-supplied Next G HSDPA network for the Australian Rail Track Corp. The network will cover 10,000 kilometers of rail tracks and replace nine different communication systems with 77 regional Next G base stations from Brisbane to Perth.

Telstra launched the Next G network in October last year, covering 98.8 percent of the Australian population or 1.9 million square kilometers. (See Ericsson Powers Telstra.) Download speeds peak at 3.6 Mbit/s and average up to 1.5 Mbit/s. Next G will hit 14.4 Mbit/s this year.

But will broadband wireless make the trains run on time?

Beam me up!
William Shatner showed up to launch Rogers Wireless Communications Inc. (NYSE: RCN; Toronto: RCM)'s first video call over its HSDPA network. That's right – Captain Kirk.

Please, please, don't tell me he said, Beam Me Up, Scotty! Actually, if I could get my mobile phone to make that electronic door opening sound like on Star Trek whenever I entered a room, now that would be cool.

Meshed-up cities
There have been several citywide mesh networks unveiled this week. From Mexico City to, er... Milton Keynes? (See Ricochet Unwires Denver and Strix Wins UK City Network.)

4G split coming?
Vendors and carriers split on the technology that will get them to the next generation. (See The Great WiMax Split.)

WiMax by the numbers:
And what will it cost? WiMax Base Station Prices and Coverage Ranges. — The Staff, Unstrung

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