Eyes on emerging wireless broadband market

About one percent of all U.S. broadband households currently use wireless access technologies — an indication that an early market is starting to emerge, says a new report by Parks Associates, the market research firm. An even bigger boost may be ahead as support grows for a new generation of unlicensed broadband wireless (UBW) technologies, the study adds.

The UBW service market has so far been highly fragmented, and equipment vendors are providing a variety of proprietary technologies using different bands and protocols. Residential rollouts of UBW technologies are still largely limited to rural, urban edge, and other underserved markets. Nonetheless, a few independent UBW service providers to both residential and enterprise customers are seeing some success in even the overbuilt markets.

“The proliferation of Wi-Fi devices in the residential market and the announcement of 802.16 standards have rekindled the hope of using unlicensed wireless technologies to deliver last-mile broadband access,” said Yuanzhe (Michael) Cai, research analyst with Parks Associates. “In actuality, demand for unlicensed broadband wireless products has been slowly building in the past two years, but market fragmentation may preclude large contracts and make the industry dependent on the growth of the number of wireless ISPs.”

Of the nearly 22 million U.S. broadband households, approximately 200,000 of them are using broadband wireless services. That estimate includes subscribers to services based on licensed and unlicensed broadband wireless technologies, the report found.

For more information on the study — titled Unlicensed Broadband Wireless: Solutions and Applications, visit: www.parksassociates.com.

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