Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Imagine to deploy Huawei WTTx broadband in rural Ireland

Huawei and Imagine Communications Group, a service provider based in Dublin, Ireland, have announced the formation of a strategic partnership under which Ireland will become the first country to see the deployment of a national wireless-to the-x (WTTx) network.

Utilising the latest released LTE technologies optimised to provide a fixed access network, Imagine will use Huawei's WTTx solution to deliver superfast broadband offering speeds of 200 Mbit/s and higher across Ireland to help address the digital divide between urban and rural areas.

Leveraging the latest 4.5G technologies including massive MIMO and massive Carrier Aggregation (CA), the solution is capable of delivering a downlink speed of over 1 Gbit/s, as well as providing a roadmap to 5G, using advanced CPE to connect premises to a fibre link at a mobile mast is faster.

Huawei noted that deployment of the technology has significantly lower cost compared to conventional fibre access solutions, with WTTx emerging as a strategic alternative to FTTx infrastructure for quickly extending high speed broadband availability.

Huawei added that Ireland is a country where there is a significant difference between urban and rural areas in term of network infrastructure. While in urban areas cable availability offers an alternative to limited FTTx networks, it often fails to meet the advertised speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s, and cannot meet demand for above 100 Mbit/s services. In addition, around 61% of the market in regional and rural areas is served with xDSL services delivering speeds as low as 3 Mbit/s.

Ireland initiated a national broadband plan in 2012 designed to make 30 Mbit/s broadband services available to every home by 2020. With FTTP as the only alternative and the difficulties and high cost of deploying FTTP, to date only an estimated 12,000 premises have been connected.

Huawei stated that in a limited commercial trial of the Imagine LTE fixed wireless access network in selected rural areas which offers 70 Mbit/s service, 16,000 customers have been connected, while over 100,000 customers have applied for the service. With the 3.6 GHz 5G licenses secured in the recent spectrum award, Imagine aims to be the first operator to provide 100 Mbit/s-plus services in rural areas.


Imagine plans to commence the rollout of its WTTx network in October this year, with the objective of achieving 85% market coverage by 2019.

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