Urban WiMax to raise £35m to fund expansion of UK network

Money will be used to extend London-based WiMax wireless data network nationwide.

Urban WiMax to raise £35m to fund expansion of UK network

Wireless broadband network operator Urban WiMax has announced plans for a fresh round of funding to raise £35m to finance a national roll-out for its WiMax wireless broadband service.

The company has appointed investment bank Rothschild to advise it on the planned fundraising that, when completed, will see the company begin deploying its WiMax service, which is already running in parts of central London, to other urban centres across the UK. The London WiMax service is due to launch fully in January.

Urban WiMax has also suggested that it might pursue acquisitions of companies holding WiMax licences and other wireless broadband operators as a way of expanding its fledgling business.

‘The potential for WiMax is enormous. Wireless connectivity is no longer just about Wi-Fi connections to the internet in your office meeting room or Starbucks, it’s a primary data connection, offering all the security guarantees that businesses require,’ said Sasha Williamson, chief executive of Urban WiMax at the start of its London service.

Expansion of the Urban WiMax service comes shortly after the start of large-scale WiMax and similar wireless broadband trials by other internet service providers including Pipex, which ran a trial service in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Now, which also operates a commercial service in parts of London, aimed at consumers. Another wireless trial is taking place in Manchester run by Manchester Metronet, which uses a similar technology to WiMax.

In October, wireless networking company Redline Communications announced plans to raise £40m to finance its own WiMax network development plans.

WiMax deployments already face stiff competition from 3G cellular data services offered by the four major mobile phone networks. With the adoption of technologies such as High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) these wireless services are offering transfer rates on a par with current wired cable modem and ADSL broadband services.

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