Liberty Broadband takeover finally resolved

The government has agreed to allow Firstnet to offer a 'Wireless DSL' service, which could mean a wide-scale rollout of wireless broadband

The future of Liberty Broadband's high-speed wireless service is finally clear, after the UK government agreed to issue new licences to Firstnet -- the ISP that is taking over Liberty's customer base.

Firstnet announced on Friday that as well as continuing to supply these 3,000 existing customers with wireless broadband, it also plans to roll out the service -- which Firstnet calls "Wireless DSL" -- across Britain's broadband divide in partnership with other Internet service providers.

"At last, we are delighted to offer ISPs the advantage of this unique wireless service, rolling out broadband into regions currently not enabled by ADSL," said Bryan Cobley, Firstnet's development director, in a statement.

"Firstnet's strategy is to establish a 'Broadband Britain' in line with government directives. This goal will be achieved by rapidly deploying wireless broadband into rural areas and other sites where ADSL and cable broadband is not available," Cobley added.

Liberty Broadband, which was previously known as Tele2, went into liquidation earlier this month. This led to confusion over the future of the service, as it was initially unclear whether the necessary licences would be reissued in the event of another company taking over Liberty.

Late last week, though, agreement was reached that the Radiocommunications Agency would issue Firstnet with the licences previously used by Liberty Broadband, allowing it to operate at various frequencies between 3.6GHz and 4.2GHz.

The 3,000 customers that will now be served by Firstnet are scattered across the UK in places including Bath, Basingstoke, Birmingham, Bristol, Crystal Palace, Guildford, Sheffield, Slough and Uxbridge.

If Firstnet does attempt to make affordable wireless broadband available across the UK's broadband black spots, it may face competition from any company that wins a 3.4GHz licence in the auction due to take place this May.


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