BSNL Chennai Telephones has launched WiMAX, the fourth generation technology for wireless broadband, in 15 mofussil areas around Chennai as part of delivering its DataOne services to locations which are difficult to network with the conventional cables.

Addressing a press conference, Chennai Telephones Chief General Manager A. Subramanian said each of the 15 BTS towers set up in these locations would provide wireless broadband services within a radius of 10-15 km and have capacity to network about 1,000 subscribers with a little back-end scaling up of bandwidth.

WiMAX (Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access) is an IP-based wireless broadband technology that provides Internet access for any device on any network within a designated zone. BSNL can offer wireless connectivity for a 15-km line of sight range in rural areas at speeds ranging between 256 Kbps and 2 Mbps. Unlike the limited access area that a Wi-Fi hotspot serves, WiMAX represents 4G wireless broadband technology that can link up larger areas.

The new WiMAX spots are Uthiramerur, Chengalpattu, Anna Nagar, Maraimalainagar, Gummidipoondi SIPCOT, Kelambakkam, Thiruvallur M/W, Oragadam, Sriperumbudur, Manali New Town, Melmaruvathur, Maduranthagam, Thirukazhukundram, Thatchur, Medavakkam and Kancheepuram.

By spreading out WiMAX to these locations, Chennai Telephones appears to be more comfortable now with the prospect of commercially leveraging WiMAX technology which it had trialled in Uthukottai in Thiruvallur over a year ago. Apart from several attractive user friendly plans, BSNL has also extended promotional schemes for outright purchase or renting the customer premises equipment (CPE) for receiving WiMAX services. While users within a 1 km radius of a WiMAX BTS can access the Internet with just a USB dongle, those within a 2-5 km radius would require an indoor CPE while subscribers farther away would need to hook up with outdoor equipment.

“Though the current technology deployed does not provide for access to other WiMAX cell sites while roaming it could be possible in the conceivable future,” Mr. Subramanian said.

Pinging on speedtest.net during a demo at the Maraimalainagar BTS area showed a download speed of 2.17 Mbps and upload speed of 1.79 on the USB dongle, 1.97 Mbps (download) and 0.51 (upload) with an indoor CPE and 2.02 Mbps (download) and 1.57 Mbps (upload) with an outdoor CPE.

On the impact of Mobile Number Portability on the BSNL subscriber base, Mr. Subramanian said while port-ins exceed the outgo in Tamil Nadu, the ratio in Chennai circle was fast improving and he expected it to turn positive by March. Measures are in place to ease the hardships reported by subscribers following BSNL's migration from a meter-based billing to the call detail record-driven software, officials said.

Keywords: BSNL ChennaiWiMAX