Chinese mega(lo) cities go wireless

While China’s homegrown third generation (3G) wireless standard TD-SCDMA is starting to gain ground at home, its prospects might be overshadowed by the emergence of a new competitor.  

Key districts in Beijing, such as Olympic sites, Olympic-related accommodation and the city’s central business district, will be covered by a wireless broadband network by the end of 2007. The network will use a mix of Wi-Fi and WiMAX technologies. After covering an initial 40 square kilometers across a number of key districts, the project will cover the city’s university campuses and hi-tech districts. The aim is then to expand it to cover the entire city. And Beijing is only one in six cities in China which are developing wireless network projects. Guangzhou is to go wireless by 2010. For Shanghai, the idea is to combine WiMAX and Wi-Fi to offer a district-wide wireless broadband network.

The municipalities are seconded by Cisco’s vision to have mega-city networks supporting high-definition video transfer and connecting government-authorized networks in areas such as traffic control, security monitoring and environmental regulation.

Moving straight to “fourth-generation” broadband means telecoms companies could leapfrog the political infighting and technology debates that have hamstrung the rollout of 3G in China. China is on course to leapfrog not only technologies but also developed countries.