Global Economics

WiMAX to Go Live in Warwick


The district council's trial of the next-generation wireless technology will start in May, and leasing unused office space could boost return on the investment

Warwick District Council's WiMax trial will start this spring with the objective of a full rollout by the end of the year.

From mid-May, the southern part of the district - including Leamington Spa and Warwick - will be WiMax enabled.

It's about giving workers flexibility.

Chris Elliott, chief executive of Warwick District Council, said the council turned to WiMax to make cost savings without sacrificing services.

In the long term, Elliott expects the Wireless Warwick project to promote more flexible working. With more homeworking made possible, a reduction in office desk space could allow the council to make money by leasing office space it no longer needs.

Elliott predicted a payback on the capital investment in WiMax within three years.

In a recent staff survey 20 per cent of council employees said they would not need desk space if the advantages of the WiMax network were fully realised.

Around a quarter of council workers spend the majority of their time visiting and travelling between offices and so the WiMax network will mean they can carry on work when away from the office.

But Elliott stressed the council won't be forcing people to work from home but rather will promote working practices to help staff work in the best way for them.

He said: "It's about giving workers flexibility."

If the project works out as planned, Elliott said its effect "could potentially be quite profound".

He said the Warwick district is a good place for the trial as it is relatively small and prosperous and has both rural and urban areas. The council covers 140,000 people, with around 20,000 of these living in rural areas.

This will allow the project to experiment with wireless CCTV cameras and applications such as a mobile community library and home health services.

Elliott added that with Leamington Spa's computer games industry, the local economy is very technology-based, making the ability to offer WiMax even more appropriate.

Wireless Warwick is working with Intel Solutions Services, National Grid Wireless and Pipex Wireless with the trial.

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