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Liberty working to bring WiMAX to local area

July 2, 2009 : Mitzi Bible

Liberty University is taking the lead in an effort to bring the latest wireless data technology to the Lynchburg community — WiMAX. This wireless wide area network technology will deliver broadband Internet access with faster speeds at greater distances than the latest wireless networks can provide.

Through a partnership with the Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, Liberty has created the Lynchburg Educational Broadband Joint Venture, making it possible for major communications companies to bid on leasing license channels — now owned separately by LU and VSA — and provide WiMAX service to users.

After making appeals to the FCC for two years, Liberty received the green light this week to operate on a frequency that would make this venture possible. Liberty administrators say the venture will have wide-ranging effects on the Central Virginia region and its educational institutions.

In early 2008, Appomattox became the first town in Virginia to implement WiMAX and remains the only town with the technology in Central Virginia.

According to WiMAX.com, WiMAX differs from the Wi-Fi network in that it can “take advantage of a licensed spectrum owned by wireless service providers, allowing a signal that is free of interference.” Wi-Fi uses unlicensed frequency bands, making it “subject to interference from devices that also emit signals and noise over the same spectrum.”

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