Broadband service provider Speakeasy has deployed a “pre-WiMAX” network in Seattle that will serve as a test bed for the company's WiMAX rollouts when equipment is available, said Speakeasy President and CEO Bruce Chatterley.

Chatterley said the OFDM-based network will provide non-line-of-sight wireless connectivity that will deliver 6 Mb/s data rates for $800 per month — a price point designed to appeal to enterprises that have exhausted their 3 Mb/s T-1 lines but cannot afford a $6000-per-month DS-3 connection.

Speakeasy's current network covering 5 square miles in Seattle's downtown area will feature Alvarion's base station and end-user hardware and technology that leverages Speakeasy's strategic relationship with Intel to deliver a “WiMAX-equivalent” solution, according to the company. Chatterley said Seattle would serve as a test bed to prepare Speakeasy to deploy actual WiMAX solutions — when gear becomes available late this year or early in 2006 — in Seattle and its other markets.

“It really is a WiMAX experience, from the data user's perspective — they won't notice any difference when we deploy the WiMAX gear,” Chatterley said. “We're doing this to bust all the myths about the hype surrounding WiMAX and prove that the business model can work.”