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Intel Corp. this week unveiled effort to accelerate WiMAX wireless broadband deployment in several Southeast Asian countries. Intel’s Asian Broadband Campaign will provide broadband wireless consulting and expertise along with silicon and technical services.

Intel will work with governments, telecommunications regulators, education, health and agriculture public sector agencies and carriers to help them prepare for and conduct WiMAX trials. The trials will test connectivity among key public and private sector groups. As part of Intel’s Digital ASEAN (d-ASEAN) vision of an integrated region of connected villages, provinces, cities and countries, Intel is helping to begin WiMAX trials in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines by the end of 2005. Trials in Indonesia and Vietnam are expected to take place in 2006.

In Thailand, WiMAX trials are being conducted in the communities of Khorat, Chiang Mai and Roi Et to test services for rural and suburban healthcare, education, small business (SMB) incubation, agriculture supply chain integration and other consumer services such as Voice over IP. The trials will help assess technical and commercial viability models using different backhaul and last-mile WiMAX architecture and will be reviewed by international aid organizations as a possible blueprint to use across the ASEAN countries.

A WiMAX trial is currently underway in Malaysia’s government administrative hub, Putrajaya. In Kepala Batas, communities of medical practitioners, students and teachers at different remote locations recently tested the uses of WiMAX in the health and education sectors. With these trials the Malaysian government hopes to promote its digital vision to make wireless broadband technologies such as WiMAX more accessible and affordable to more citizens. The ongoing WiMAX trial is expected to help accelerate the rate of PC and Internet adoption and lay the foundation for Malaysia’s d-ASEAN vision.

In the Philippines, the government has a goal to increase the use of PC technology in government offices and agencies and establish a nationwide digital infrastructure. They expect to see the deployment of wireless broadband technologies including WiMAX across key sectors of the country before the end of 2005.

Once broadly deployed, the countries hope the technology will help them meet the United Nations Millennium Development goals to eradicate poverty and hunger, expand primary education, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, combat diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development by 2015.

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