Pipex has completed the first phase of its WiMax experiment, saying the results exceeded expectations.
The company's joint venture with Intel, Pipex Wireless, has been trialling the long-range wireless broadband technology in the Stratford-upon-Avon region.
Pipex Wireless experimented with both indoor and outdoor kit from Airspan to monitor the speeds WiMax can generate. WiMax cheerleaders have often boasted of a theoretical maximum of 70Mbps, but the real-world test unsurprisingly failed to match such high speeds.
Indoors, Pipex Wireless reported download speeds of 2Mbps at a distance of 1.2km from the base station and 10Mpbs outdoors at the same distance. At a distance of 6km from the base station, outdoor speeds reached 6Mbps.
Indoor speeds may not impress when compared to "traditional" broadband — the UK's average speed is just under 2Mbps — but according to Graham Currier, business development director at Pipex, the way WiMax can offer such speeds almost symmetrically is more important.
"It will be important for SMEs, professionals who work at home, people using VPNs, people using VoIP. It's going to be important for a lot of the services that are emerging," he said.
The next phase will see a commercial trial with local council and business users, which will see hundreds of individuals trying out the service. Pipex is yet to reveal where the trial will take place, but Currier said it will be in an area where broadband is weak and will last between six and nine months.
Pipex Wireless is also planning a full commercial rollout in one UK city, likely to be Manchester, before the end of next year.