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Pipex unveils plans for UK wireless broadband service

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UK ISP Pipex is hooking up with Intel to launch a wireless broadband service in the UK's major metropolitan areas, starting with London and Manchester.

Pipex is already running trials of its WiMAX service with Airspan Networks at the US-based firm's test facility in Stratford-upon-Avon. Now it's launched a joint venture with Intel Capital - the chip maker's venture capital VC outfit - to create Pipex Wireless. As apart of the deal, Pipex has transferred its entire 3.6GHz UK spectrum license to the new wireless business.

And with the $25m investment by Intel, the new wireless service is looking to begin its network roll-out in London and Manchester in 2007 with eight areas targeted by 2008. Ultimately, Pipex has ambitions to roll-out the service to around 50 of the most densely populated areas of the UK.

"We see creation of this new wireless service provider as an incredible opportunity to provide new services to major cities in the UK," Pipex chief exec Peter Dubens said. "With a wireless service, PIPEX Wireless will offer unique broadband access and services that are very complementary to Pipex's existing business of DSL access, hosting and network access."

Pipex's WiMAX connections have turned the operator into hot property amid reports that BT was mulling a bid for the ISP, which is one of two operators (the other is PCCW) to hold a licence to develop WiMAX networks in the UK. BT wants to use WiMAX to help support a mobile service based on the technology, but needs the licence to proceed. ®

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