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Verizon Wireless eyes quick deployment of broadband net

It hopes to provide DSL-like speeds to mobile users nationwide

By Bob Brewin
March 23, 2004 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - ATLANTA -- Verizon Wireless yesterday announced plans to immediately begin deploying an advanced high-speed cellular data network and will spend $1 billion over the next two years on equipment that can provide mobile data rates to markets nationwide that equal wired DSL speeds.
Verizon Wireless, at a news conference at the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association trade show and conference here, said it will offer the 300K to 500Kbit/sec. data service it calls BroadbandAccess to "significant portions" of its nationwide network starting this summer. Additional markets will be phased in through 2005.
Verizon initially announced plans for the rollout in January (see story) but provided few details at the time.
Verizon Wireless, based in Bedminster N.J., first deployed its BroadbandAccess service as a pilot program in the metropolitan San Diego and Washington markets last October. The service is based on CDMA EV-DO (Code Division Multiple Access Evolution-Data Only) standards. To provide the wireless infrastructure technology for BroadbandAccess nationwide, it has now signed contracts with Lucent Technologies Inc. and Nortel Networks Ltd.
Verizon Wireless said it plans to use the nationwide high-speed service to provide enterprise customers with a mobile extension of their corporate networks. It has already signed agreements with Citrix Systems Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Zumasys Inc., a wireless systems integrator in Lake Forest, Calif., to provide business enterprise services over the BroadbandAccess network.
Jim Straight, vice president of wireless Internet and multimedia services at Verizon Wireless, said in a statement that "by pairing our technology with Citrix MetaFrame Presentation Server, our business customers can easily access wireless high-bandwidth applications outside of the office, which helps them increase productivity, respond more quickly to their customers and close sales."
Scott Cranford, vice president of sales for Continental Laboratory Products Inc. in San Diego, an early user of the Verizon high-speed network, praised the service in a statement: "The speed of the BroadbandAccess service enables our sales reps to quickly respond to opportunities in the field. That kind of fast response wouldn't be possible without wireless access to information."
Verizon Wireless plans to charge $79.95 a month for unlimited use of the BroadbandAccess service, which Craig Mathias, an analyst at Far Point Group in Ashland, Mass., said he views as pricey compared with competing offerings, such as the monthly rate of just under $30 that T-Mobile USA charges for unlimited use of its 20K to 40Kbit/sec. mobile data service.
In a related development, AT&T Wireless Services Inc. in Redmond, Wash., said it would introduce by year's end in San Francisco, Seattle and two other markets an advancedcellular data service capable of speeds up to 2Mbit/sec. Ritch Blasi, an AT&T Wireless spokesman, said he doesn't know what Atlanta-based Cingular Wireless, which is acquiring AT&T Wireless, might plan to do with the high-speed service, "since we're still two separate companies."

Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.

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