China's capital city of Beijing will roll out an extensive wireless internet network in time for the 2008 Olympic games, a government technology official has revealed.
The government has set an ambitious target of the first quarter of 2008 for the completion of new networks that will cover 90 per cent of Beijing's major thoroughfares with easily accessible wireless internet links.
The plan was revealed in a recent speech by Xie LinZhen, a senior member of the communications technology commission of China's main high tech body, the Ministry of Information Industry.
More than 9,000 wireless local area network nodes will be set up, backed by 150 WiMax base stations, Xie told reporters in Japan. The system will rely on China's new TD-SCDMA 3G mobile technology for low speed data links.
With less than one year remaining before the government's self-imposed deadline, little of the required infrastructure is in place.
In addition, the TD-SCDMA network has never been tested in a full scale commercial market, and has suffered years of delays.
In fact, lengthy teething troubles with TD-SCDMA, which has been developed in China with some foreign assistance, are generally blamed for the three-year delay in bringing 3G mobile services to China's hundreds of millions of mobile phone users.
There are currently 15 WiMax base stations in Beijing, according to the China Internet Research Center.
The capital also hosts various subscription Wi-Fi networks and some free Wi-Fi hotspots, although coverage is patchy. The government has not yet revealed details of pricing for the planned Olympic wireless data networks.
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