PCCW says wireless broadband plans are in place

The company that recently gained control of much of Britain's 3.4GHz spectrum says it is planning a 'soft launch' of a wireless broadband service

Pacific Century Cyberworks (PCCW), the Hong Kong-based telco that controls most of a key part of the UK's radio spectrum, has said it is working on launching broadband wireless services in Britain.

Reports on Thursday said that senior PCCW executives have announced plans for a "soft launch" of a high-speed wireless service in the UK. This could be the prelude to a nationwide rollout that would help to close Britain's broadband divide.

"Wireless broadband will probably become another major growth area for PCCW and PCCW will probably replicate the success in launching wireless broadband in the UK to other markets," said PCCW managing director Jack So, quoted by news agency AFX.

Back in June, PCCW won 13 regional licences that allow it to operate wireless services at 3.4GHz. It missed out on just two, amid rumours that errors were made during the bidding process.

The UK government, which organised the 3.4GHz auction, believes that the spectrum will be used to offer commercial broadband services across the UK -- including to the 30 percent of people who can't get an affordable high-speed Web connection from BT, NTL, Telewest or any other telco.

However, there are concerns that the spectrum could be used for other purposes. Rumours have been spreading around the industry that PCCW might instead be planning to team up with a mobile network operator -- So's comments should therefore provide some level of reassurance to people trapped on the wrong side of the broadband divide.