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U.S. Will Open Spectrum for WiMAX

CED reports that the U.S. government plans to start licensing spectrum this year for wireless broadband services based on the recently ratified 802.16e WiMAX standard, aiming to stay "one or two steps ahead of other countries," according to an official from the DoC.

Michael Gallaher, assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, last week told an industry gathering in California that the Bush administration was looking at several frequency bands for licenses, including the 700 MHz band, with a view to providing "universal, affordable access for broadband by 2007."

Pre-standard implementations of 802.16e have all been in the 2.5, 3.5 and 5.8 GHz bands, but it is adaptable, and could be adapted to work in the 1.71 and 2.11 GHz ranges Washington is thought to favor for licensing this year. By 2008, the 700 MHz band, which is currently used by analog TV, will become available for licensing as the States moves to digital television, due to be the only option for viewers by the following year.

In contrast, South Korea is already ahead of the U.S. with deployment of WiBRO services -- a similar wireless broadband standard to WiMAX.

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