Fixed Wireless Prepares for Speedy Growth

The expected growth will help fixed wireless take its place alongside fiber, cable, satellite and copper wire in the data communications market, the executives said, addressing an audience of some 1,000 industry executives at the Broadband Wireless World Forum here.

"There is an incredible demand for data, and we're going to have a tough time keeping up with it," Dave Kimzey, vice president and general manager of Alcatel SA, said in a keynote speech at the start of the two-day show. "We have to step up our pace in getting products to market."

Proponents see fixed wireless as a viable way to deliver high-speed Internet access to homes and businesses, bridging the so-called "last mile" between service providers and their customers that historically has been viewed as a weak link in data networks.

Other speakers here echoed Kimzey's warning. "The changes I thought would occur in five to 10 years have come true in one year," Buddy Pickle, [CQ] president and chief operating officer of Teligent, told the audience.

Demand for fixed wireless services have almost doubled in the past year, Pickle said. Meanwhile, wireless e-commerce applications are being developed quickly and the cost of wireless equipment is coming down. "Changes are occurring so rapidly that if we don't keep up we will be sorry," Pickle said.

A third speaker said fixed wireless technology will take its rightful a place alongside more common data communications media, such as copper wire and cable networks.

"E-commerce is crying out for broadband," said Doug Carter [CQ], chief technology officer of NextLink Communications "There is a bandwidth bottleneck."

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