Bellsouth to Launch Wireless Broadband Service

BellSouth Corp., the No. 3 U.S. local telephone company, said on Tuesday it would launch a wireless high-speed Internet service for residential customers based on an early version of the WiMax technology backed by Intel Corp.

BellSouth and other telecommunications companies have been testing WiMax as a cheaper alternative for connecting hard-to-reach customers or replacing more expensive wired data links.

BellSouth said it would offer the service starting in August in Athens, Georgia, and would expand to several cities in Florida later this year.

The company did not release details on prices or data speeds for the service.

Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is pushing WiMax as a way to spread cheap yet ubiquitous wireless broadband access, as well as a future driver of chips and notebook computer sales.

With Intel's muscle behind the WiMax push, some 240 companies have joined the industry group developing standards and equipment.

Certified WiMax equipment has yet to go on sale, but several companies sell "pre-WiMax" gear based on early versions of the standards. BellSouth said its service would use equipment from privately-owned Navini Networks.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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