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Barrett Xplore commencing first national 4G network


October 8, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

October 8, 2010

Under the Xplornet brand, Barrett Xplore Inc. is commencing a next-generation 4G network for rural Canadians, starting with terrestrial fixed wireless, followed by a new satellite network. This is the first commercial deployment of a national 4G network in Canada, says Barrett. For rural Canadians, the deployment of this technology will mean they have better access to faster, affordable broadband with higher bandwidth allowances. “And this state of the art technology is coming to rural Canada first,” says Barrett.

“Barrett Xplore’s mission is to bridge the urban/rural broadband divide
in Canada,” said Barrett CEO John Maduri. ”4G means the goal of bringing
fast, robust, affordable broadband to all Canadians—regardless of
location—will be achieved in the very near future. The potential impact
of rural broadband can’t be overstated. From telecommuting, to new
business in rural areas, to distance health and education, rural
broadband can change the face of Canada.”

The 4G network will have both terrestrial and satellite components. The
terrestrial wireless network, which will comprise roughly 1200 towers,
will be capable of speeds over 40Mbps improving to over 100Mbps by next
year. While speed is important, the key to a great experience is more
bandwidth, and the new network will provide the capacity for more robust
service packages—ranging from 3x to 10x the capacity of today’s HSPA.

The terrestrial 4G network will initially be based on WiMAX, and is
software-upgradable to the future WiMAX protocol or to LTE—whichever
will offer rural customers a better experience, says Barrett. The
company’s investment in the terrestrial wireless network is planned to
be about $150 million.

The 4G satellite network will be based on High-Throughput Satellite
(HTS) architecture, starting with the first satellite—Viasat-1—scheduled
to launch in 2011, followed by a second satellite—Hughes-Jupiter—in
early 2012. These satellites will allow Barrett to provide speeds up to
25Mbps.

Construction of the new terrestrial 4G wireless network is commencing
Fall 2010 with the first customers coming online by the end of this
year. The 4G satellite network will see its first customers coming
online late 2011.

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