NTL's Blocked Vision

U.K. service provider NTL Group Ltd. (Nasdaq Europe: NTLI) has abandoned its wireless broadband trial in the city of Milton Keynes, blaming the “topography” of the area for blocking coverage from base stations [Ed note: Damn those pesky trees!]

Deployed at the end of 2003, the trial involved 90 residential customers using kit from broadband wireless vendor Ogier Electronics in the 10GHz frequency band.

The trial was an attempt by the national wireline service provider to size up the potential of the U.K.’s broadband wireless market. “It was an opportunity to take a look at the technology and get some customer feedback,” says NTL spokesman Malcom Padley.

Unfortunately for NTL, the company’s plans were scuppered by the rather obvious presence of buildings and trees.

“The project was restricted by our ability to achieve line-of-sight to home,” confirms NTL’s Richard Loveday. “This meant we would need a much larger number of transmitter stations than originally estimated. This in turn made it uneconomic… It was a trial that we all had high hopes for, but unfortunately it proved not to be commercially viable.”

“The topography of the area made it very difficult,” adds Padley.

Padley states that NTL is not involved in any other wireless broadband trials at present, but declines to specify the company’s future market plans [Ed note: Involving non-line-of-sight equipment next time, maybe?]

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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