Paris: French company Bluwan has unveiled a technology known as fibre-through-the-air (FTAA) which could offer broadband speeds of up to 100Mbit/s and help close the digital divide in the UK.
The company, a spin-off from UK firm Thales, has been showing off the technology ahead of a commercial launch at Mobile World Congress in February, and believes that FTTA offers significant advantages over traditional fibre deployments.
The technology uses network capacity in the 42GHz and 12GHz spectrums to deliver broadband direct to homes and businesses without the need to dig trenches, and can offer mobile backhaul access for services such as 3G, LTE and HSPA+.
Bluwan chief executive Jean-François Galey Sand told V3.co.uk that the company is ahead of the market, and that it can help solve issues around the delivery of broadband in rural areas.
"There have been a lot of discussions in government on how to use the technology in the UK market to solve issues linked to the digital problem," he said.
"This technology has been in development, in essence, for 50 years at Thales, but it is only now that it is being used, and we expect other companies to start developing products that use 40GHz as there is a big need for more spectrum."
Bluwan chief marketing officer Shayan Sanyal added that the firm has been in discussions with UK government bodies on this issue.
"We have been talking to Broadband Delivery UK and having conversations at a ministerial level with [culture secretary] Ed Vaizey and his team about what we can deliver. They are very interested in the technology."
Sanyal believes that FTTA has several advantages over other technologies, such as satellites, for delivering broadband to the final third.
"Fibre deployments can cost £70 per metre, which makes returns on investment highly dependent on subscriber numbers. But with FTTA you can deliver services between 2km and 12km up to 50 times cheaper," he said.
"The problem with satellite is that the latency is too long for applications like gaming or VoIP calls, whereas with FTTA latency is minimal as it's all terrestrial based."
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