The WiMAX soho box™

The BOX™ provides an integrated communications package for homes and small businesses in urban and rural areas. It offers complete communication and multimedia services for the home - phone, internet, on-demand films, TV and radio. The product will be sold to telecoms providers (ISPs, Cable and Satellite) and local authorities as a turnkey system.

The WiMAX SOHO BOXT is half the size of a shoe box and does four jobs:

1. Telephony - telephone socket

2. Internet connectivity - Ethernet socket (TI / E1 type)

3. A range of movies on demand, digital and satellite TV channels - TV socket

4. A range of digital and analogue radio channels - Audio socket Clients of the telecoms providers will rent the BOXT for £30-35 a month - available in the High Street, plug in and play, just like a Freeview set-top box.

Each BOXT communicates independently with a transmitter/receiver base station. The communication is totally wireless, using WiMAX technology. The telecoms provider buys the base-station at a cost of £85k per station per 3000 users. The BOXT will cost £300 each to manufacture. And licensing of the operating software will be applied per client or on volume of traffic. For urban areas, a single base-station can serve a radius of 10km (the size of a small town) with internet connectivity (T1/E1) up to 1.5MB/s. For rural areas, there is a trade-off between the number of clients, coverage distance and number of users.

Three new technologies will dominate the telecommunications industry. Here, they're integrated in one product. Each of them offers ROI in one way or another:

1. P2P broadcasting and internet on demand

2. WiMAX

3. VoIP So with the BOXT, a telephony provider could offer internet and TV services. And an internet provider could offer competitively-priced telephony and TV services to its 'last mile' customers.

On the other hand, P2P technology could turn a telecom provider into a broadcaster. The provider could become a single subscriber to all satellite TV channels, and charges individual clients for what they actually viewed. The new P2P broadcasting technology (TVIP) allows clients to access the whole world's free and subscribed satellite and digital TV. The client pays only by the hour to watch a particular subscribed channel; the rest of the viewing is free. There's no monthly fee, the client pays for what he sees.

WiMAX is a unicast platform and therefore will not support broadcasting. The wireless transition of the P2P broadcasting services can be achieved using DVB-T&H COFDM Frame Structure. That will allow the use of a 'rabbit's ears' indoor antenna on the BOXT. WiMAX is an emerging technology which for the first time allows wireless data transfer, fast and long-range. It means telecom providers can now reach distant or short-term customers without heavy installation costs. Satellite providers can use it to stream back client information and reduce delays caused by the distance of the satellite. Today's internet broadband subscribers, using wire-line DSL services, are limited by the restrictions of copper wire to just 2Mbps each way.

WiMAX wireless technology can reach up to 45Mbps both ways at up to 24km range. And more cheaply, too. VoIP technology means profound changes for the telephone business. Subscribers can, effectively, talk for nothing. So a BOXT client can talk free to anyone with the BOXT (or internet connections). Telecom providers will be able to earn money from phone calls made through the BOXT to mobiles and landlines. There's no maintenance cost involved in the VoIP telephony system - it's based on software. So telecom providers only need to buy into the software and the relevant connection.

There is additional revenue to be made from the multiplier effect created by the integration outlined here. Telecom providers can provide entertainment on demand such as DVD rental and P2P gaming services. But most importantly, the system creates a local network of users with identical geographical profile, and it likely to be demographic as well. That could lead to the development of novel and highly profitable applications based on internet technology and local community requirements.