Monday, October 03, 2005

Wi-Fi to boost growth of SMEs

 
 
  TECH TIMES
By JING GARCIA, Tech Times Editor
 

  Smart Communications expressed confidence that the full deployment of its new wireless broadband service will eventually help the growth of small and medium enterprises, Mon Isberto, Smart Communications head for public affairs, said.  
 
 

Smart Communications expressed confidence that the full deployment of its new wireless broadband service will eventually help the growth of small and medium enterprises, Mon Isberto, Smart Communications head for public affairs, said.

"The PLDT group gives more and more emphasis to Internet connection, and the significance of this latest service is creating affordable broadband access to a wider population," said Isberto.

Dubbed Smart Wi-Fi, the high-speed broadband Internet access was launched on June 15 in selected provincial areas to stress-test the service before full nationwide commercial deployment on October 1.

"With fast Internet access at home, we expect a lot of growth in Metro Manila and other key cities, and Smart has the tool to do this," said Isberto, referring to people working at home or in a small office, home office environment.

Although a Smart competitor is currently offering a similar service called ‘Wi-Fi ng Bayan,’ it remains limited to certain areas in Metro Manila and has yet to be formally launched.

Smart Wi-Fi brings broadband Internet access directly to homes by using the company’s nationwide cellular network to wirelessly connect the desktop computer to the Internet even if the customer is beyond the reach of a phone line.

The service works by simply installing a CPE (customer premises equipment) antenna to the subscriber’s home, which is directed to the nearest Smart BTS (base station) cellsite to give the user the strongest connection signal possible.

Once the antenna is cabled to the subscriber’s home computer, PC notebook, or router via a UTP or LAN cable, they’re ready to go online.

Maximum data speed transfer is rated at 256Kbps, which is more than twice the speed transfer rate any dial-up connection could offer.

However, Smart Wi-Fi may probably be a misnomer because it is categorized by Smart as fixed line, which appropriately competes directly with the likes of MyDSL (also from PLDT) rather than Wi-Fi hot-spot providers such as Airborne Access and GlobeQuest.

Nonetheless, Smart Wi-Fi offers an attractive package fee of P788 for the 128Kbps transfer speed and doubles it at 256Kbps for P988, which both provide 24/7 ‘always online’ connection. A one-time P1,000 installation fee is included in the one-year contract.

According to the telco’s officials, the primary market for their services include residential

areas, particularly in the provinces where landline phone coverage is limited.

By end-September, an estimated 8,500 customers had already signed up for the service and they are seen to grow at 10 percent a month.

Another identified potential market is business process outsourcing done at home, which, according to Isberto, is the way these businesses are serviced in other countries. "BPO is one of the growth areas we want to exploit. Broadband access can certainly help in this growth," Isberto said.

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