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Chapter 3. Residential Broadband Interne... > WIRELESS LOCAL LOOP - Pg. 35

Residential Broadband Internet Technologies 35 WIRELESS LOCAL LOOP Originally developed to support telephony traffic, the local loop of a telecommunications network now supports a much greater number of subscriber lines transmitting both voice and Internet traffic. The term "local loop" is widely used to describe the electrical circuit between consumers and the local telephone company. The national carriers no longer have exclusive access to the local loop and are facing stiff competition from cable and satellite companies. AT&T, for instance, is spending billions of dollars on upgrading their cable TV networks. Early in 1999, a new horse entered the race to take control of the local loop-- wireless technologies. The battle commenced when two U.S.-based phone giants, MCI WorldCom and Sprint, each started buying up wireless cable companies. This was the beginning of an ambitious campaign to shift away from video programming to high-speed Internet services. Wireless local loop (WLL) is a relatively new service that is used by telecommunications companies to carry IP data from central locations on their networks to small low-cost antennas that are mounted on their subscribers'roofs. Wireless cable Internet access is enabled through the use of a number of distribution technologies, including the multichannel multipoint distribution system (MMDS) and the local multipoint distribution system (LMDS). MMDS Analog-based MMDS began in the mid-seventies with the allocation of two television channels for sending business data. This service became very popular, and applications were made to allocate part of the ITFS (Instructional Television Fixed Service) band to wireless cable TV. Once the regu- lations had been amended it became possible for a wireless cable system to offer up to thirty-one 6-MHz channels in the 2.5 to 2.7 GHz frequency band. During this timeframe, nonprofit organizations