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Verizon, Alvarion sign wireless broadband deal

The carrier has bought equipment from Alvarion to make wireless broadband service available on a former military base.

Verizon Avenue, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, has bought equipment from Alvarion to make wireless broadband service available on a former military base.

Alvarion, one of the leading wireless broadband gear makers, announced Monday that Verizon Avenue had agreed to purchase about 2,300 fixed broadband units. Verizon Avenue has contracted the installation of the gear to Clark Pinnacle Family Communities, which plans to set up the gear and service at the former Fort Ord military base in Monterey, Calif.

Representatives were not available for comment. Financial terms or when the service will be made available were not disclosed.

Alvarion said in a release that the wireless broadband equipment is based on the same technology that will be behind the WiMax specification when it is completed. WiMax-based products will allow service carriers to set up wireless networks to send and receive several megabits per second of data over distances of many miles. The specification is still being developed, and products using the technology are not likely to be available until 2006.

WiMax products have been billed as a possible third option to cable and DSL (digital subscriber line) for broadband service. Supporters of WiMax argue that because the technology is wireless it will be more convenient and less expensive to set up and offer compared with wired offerings. Rural and hard-to-reach areas have been identified as likely first targets for WiMax service.

Chipmakers, service operators and equipment makers have been slowly lining up to support WiMax technology. Last week, Sprint announced it had joined the WiMax Forum, an industry group promoting the development of the WiMax specification.

Other big names in the WiMax specification include Intel and Cisco Systems.