Experts to boost low-cost broadband access

03/30/04

Computer scientists help pan-European project

Cardiff University experts are helping to make low-cost broadband accessible to everyone across Europe.

A team led by Steve Hurley in the Centre for Mobile Communications, based in the University's School of Computer Science, has been chosen to design and plan the infrastructure needed to provide wireless broadband networks for the mass market.

"Broadband networks are becoming increasingly important for the development of European society," said Mr Hurley. "Broadband services help and may even be absolutely necessary, to maintain and increase the everyday quality of life.

"Business, organisations, education, health care, culture, and community authorities are taking more and more advantage of broadband networks," he added. "The realisation of a European-wide broadband network is beneficial to the general population as well as business and industry, with negligible impact on the environment."

Mr Hurley, with colleagues Dr Roger Whitaker and Dr Stuart Allen, and researchers Dr Richard Taplin and Dr Des Ryan will analyse how best to provide broadband access to households and businesses in all kinds of terrains for all regions.

"Access by cable can be provided easily and cheaply in cities, but it is usually not viable in areas which are less densely populated," he explained. "There are alternatives where wireless, satellite, or wireless local area networks may be viable, but working out which is the most efficient technology for users and in which area to deploy the technology is a complex computational problem." Hybrid wireless access technologies will offer broadband services to all citizens wherever they may be. Use of the right technology in the right place, as part of a harmonised network architecture, will allow operators to make an affordable, truly broadband offer to fixed and nomadic users in all areas from urban to rural.

The systems developed in the project can be used in a variety of ways - by service providers to maximise their revenue in a region or by Government regulators to ensure certain requirements are satisfied, for example a given percentage of the population in a region is able to receive broadband access.

The EU funded Framework VI integrated project BROADWAN (Broadband services for everyone over fixed Wireless Access Networks) is seeking to introduce low cost universal broadband access with the ambition of positioning European industry in the lead.

The team will deliver its initial findings, recommendations and results after two years, with the project due for completion after five years. The consortium comprises 25 partners from 10 countries including operators, industry, academia, and consultancy. Cardiff is among four UK partners.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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