On 1 January 2008 a major area of the radio spectrum will be auctioned off by Ofcom, and councils wishing to use this allocation to set up town- or city-wide WiMax systems must register by 22 August.
"Local authorities are presented with an exciting and unique opportunity to build their own wireless broadband infrastructures making massive savings through the use of, for example, internet connectivity between council offices, voice over IP or wireless CCTV," said Roger Horlock, client account director at Metranet, which set up the UK's first city-wide WiMax network in Brighton.
"At the same time, building a bridge between a local authority and a university greatly enhances the take-up of e-learning initiatives."
Horlock added that local authorities could use such systems to slash phone bills and other infrastructure costs. But others believe that the auction is coming too soon.
"It's a shame that the auction is going on sooner rather than later when WiMax is more established," said Jim Baker, chief executive at Telabria, which built a similar network for the University of Kent.
"I would love for local authorities to have a deeper understanding about what WiMax can do for public sector communications and enabling people to use wide area internet services.
"The trouble is that they're still getting their heads around WiMax. It's very early for this kind of consultation."
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