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Tuesday, 08 November 2005 16:55

Broadband access: it's a gas

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According to a US market research company, gas reticulation networks could be used to deliver broadband services through ultawideband radio signals 'ducted' down the pipes.

The company, West Technology, predicts that 'broadband-in-gas' (BiG) will deliver all communication services to 18 million homes in the USA by 2010.

"This new wireless ultra high bandwidth technology delivers television, phone and Internet communications through the existing installed base of natural gas pipeline networks (whether metallic and/or non-metallic gas lines)," the company claims.

In the United States natural gas services are provided to over 70 percent of all residences and well over 35 percent of businesses, according to West Technology. "These buried pipe networks exhibit very low noise floors, and are generally devoid of outside signal interference. This low noise within the gas line network combined with its inherent isolation from the rest of the open air wireless spectrum is a significant advantage allowing BiG to maximise communication bandwidth without the cost burdens," the company claims. "By retasking radar technologies to make use of the isolation and low noise floor tremendous amounts of data can be transmitted through a gas line network traversing the physical complexities of the gas line."

According to Dr Kirsten West, principal analyst of West Technology Research Solutions: "BiG is a compelling application of ultrawideband technology that will see wide adoption during the next five years. The simplicity of the physics behind the technology, combined with the use of an existing infrastructure yields a truly cost competitive option in a market filled with expensive and overly complex 'last mile' delivery alternative . BiG provides a new additional revenue opportunity for natural gas delivery companies, broadband service providers, and customer premise equipment (CPE) manufacturers."


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