Finland to get wireless broadband in 2007

Finnish broadcast network Digita said Thursday that the country’s Ministry of Transport and Communications has approved the rollout schedule for a nationwide wireless broadband network.

The schedule has already been delayed for about seven months as the plan requires coordination of radio frequencies with neighbouring countries.

But Digita said it has now condensed the schedule in such a way that the network will be rolled out faster than planned and will cover all of Finland by the end of 2009.

Vice president of wireless broadband at the company, Juha Malmberg, said work will begin in April on the deployment of the 450MHz infrastructure covering Helsinki to Turku and Tampere in Southern Finland and the area from Oulu to Ivalo in the north.

During the summer, the network will be extended to cover the holiday home areas and is expected to reach nearly 80 per cent of the country by June 2008.

Digita is rolling out the “@450” network in co-operation with Siemens, using Flarion [now Qualcomm’s] FLASH-OFDM technology. The company is expected to offer a range of terminals including a PCMCIA laptop card, an Ethernet/USB data modem or a LAN router with FLASH-OFDM plus wifi/Ethernet.

The Finnish FLASH-OFDM network will likely be the world’s second nationwide deployment of the technology. T-Mobile launched a commercial network in Slovakia last year and Korean telco KT has deployed wireless hotspots using the technology.

Digitia will not act as a service provider itself, instead selling capacity to all interested operators on equal terms and continuing its existing role as an infrastructure provider and not competing with its customers.

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