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U S WEST Goes Wireless

Denver-based telecom U S WEST late Thursday took a minority stake in Time Domain Corp. to tap into its ultra-wideband wireless (UWB) technology.

Although UWB technology has been used since the 1980s, U S West's attempt to utilize the spectrum for high-speed Internet access and network connections is a relatively new development.

Time Domain developed UWB chipsets and chip designs based on the time modulated ultra-wideband architecture (TM-UWB). Its flagship technology dubbed PulsON, transmits individual pulses at very precise time intervals across an ultra wideband spectrum.

TM-UWB architecture ultimately enables big-bandwidth bursts in the increasingly crowded low-frequency spectrum. The technology is radically different from the sine wave architecture used in the three current wireless technologies for wireless phone applications.

Code-division multiple access (CDMA), global system for mobile communication (GMS), and time division multiple access (TDMA), which after digitizing data, spreads it out over all available bandwidth. Multiple calls are overlaid over each other on the channel, with each using an assigned, unique sequence code. Using TM-UMB architecture may help U S WEST develop and deploy innovative high-bandwidth communication services.

Ophyll D'Costa, U S WEST vice president of business development, said its investment in Time Domain would help it unlock the secrets that UWB may hold for the future of advanced wireless communications.

"Ultra Wideband is a promising technology which may have a compelling impact on the shape of advanced telecommunications services and how people and enterprises will use and benefit from them," D'Costa said.

The Federal Communications Commission moved to adopt new rulemaking in May that considers permitting the operation of UWB technology on an unlicensed basis. The rule change to the 2GHz spectrum spread, normally reserved for public safety communication and global positioning systems, could co-exist with commercial use of the frequency without causing interference.

While bandwidth conservation remains a critical issue in the development of data transport over finite spectrums, Time Domain's advances in TM-UWB architecture permits scarce spectrum resources to be used more efficiently.

Connected with the equity investment, U S WEST will evaluate UWB technology for use in broadband data applications for businesses and consumers.

High-tech research firm, Cahner's In-Stat Group Inc. recently reported that rural subscribers are the driving forces behind current growth in wireless communications.

The In-Stat report indicates that the adoption of wireless services has been slow in rural areas over the past decade, but that penetration is expected to boom to reach 59 percent of the rural market over the next three years.

In-Stat compared wireless usage in urban and rural communities, and found that while urban consumers continue to dominate through sheer population size, the rural market will become a much more significant driver to the overall number of wireless subscribers.

U S West owns a significant piece of the rural market where the cost of wireless services is less competitive than urban areas and where bandwidth for wireless services remains sparse.

Rebecca Diercks, In-Stat director of wireless research, said services providers that recognize the difference between urban and rural loyalty to wireless technologies would benefit the most.

"Providers need to take a close look at the differences between rural and urban subscribers," Diercks said. "Our research shows that rural subscriber churn was much more likely to result from service or customer satisfaction



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