Pacific Internet to Launch LMDS by Year-End

SINGAPORE (08/01/2000) - Determined to take a huge slice of the local broadband market, Singapore-based Pacific Internet Ltd. (PI) last week announced its plans to deliver broadband services via Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) to corporate users and "affluent" residents by the end of this year.

PI officials revealed that the company has undergone two concurrent beta trials in the central business district (CBD) and in Science Park, which were carried out between March and July this year.

PI said it is the first among the three organizations, which had received permission from Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to conduct LMDS trials in Singapore, to do so. The other two companies are Keppel Telecommunications Pte. Ltd. and 1-Net Pte. Ltd.

LMDS, also called broadband wireless access, is a point and multipoint technology that uses high-frequency radio waves. It requires a clear line of sight between the transmitter and antenna to beam data across into the buildings.

According to Elaine Lai, PI's director of engineering and network operations, the frequency ranges from 25 to 31 GHz bands for two-way transmission of data, voice, and video at speeds of 2M bits per second.

Because of its high frequency range, the transmission capability could be affected by adverse weather conditions such as heavy rainfall, Lai said, but added that the trials' results obtained have been very "encouraging."

"We are seriously exploring LMDS as a ‘last mile' solution...that can reliably supply broadband access to the Internet in a manner that is both scalable and flexible," said PI's chief executive officer, Nicholas Lee.

Hailing it as an alternative to fiber optics, Lee said LMDS provides an entry for service providers such as PI to compete against SingTel, since it is cheaper and easier to deploy.

"The technology allows us to extend capabilities to places where fiber access is not available. With LMDS, we can build on demand with low up-front cost," Lee said. The company plans to offer broadband connectivity to 95 percent of the business district, with an initial investment of up to S$10 million.

Lee revealed that the company has identified buildings within the CBD which would provide the highest takeup rates for LMDS, but declined to disclose further details, citing competitive reasons.

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