West London will see the soft launch of the wireless service PCCW is betting on Britain to prove that its home-grown wireless broadband service has international appeal. The telecommunications firm, controlled by Richard Li Tzar-kai, will soft-launch its wireless fixed (Wi-Fi) broadband service this month in West London, with initial trials for about 300,000 homes. The venture - dubbed UK Broadband - is to be closely monitored by global telecommunications operators, curious to know if there is a business case for the unproven high-speed internet access technology. PCCW paid $98 million last year for 15 licences in Britain, allowing it to roll out a national broadband network. The company will use its Hong Kong brand Netvigator for the service, which will offer transmission speeds of up to one megabit per second. Similar broadband services offered by British telecommunications operators are priced at GBP20 (HK$279) to GBP40 per month. A market source said PCCW was likely to offer attractive pricing when it revealed fees today. 'PCCW is going to be an attacker in UK. It is going to be scary,' he said, for companies such as BT which had operated without significant competition. It is still early days for broadband access in Britain. PCCW said only 11 per cent of British households had broadband access compared with about 55 per cent in Hong Kong last year. The company will target residential and commercial users, who can simply plug a special modem card into their computers for wireless broadband access. Depending on the response to the trial service, PCCW will decide whether to expand it to other parts of Britain, Europe and eventually the mainland. Success of the Wi-Fi initiative would boost the company's fixed-line division, where revenues have been declining over the past three years. Analysts have so far been reluctant to assess PCCW's British business model, noting the technology is largely unproven. 'It is difficult to assess the market potential for such a new service,' BOC International analyst Allan Ng said. He did not assign any value to PCCW's venture in Britain.