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Whither WiMAX?

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on January 23, 2006

Remember when Uncle Sam used to talk about using the freed spectrum from switching analog TV transmissions to digital for emergency communications?
According to Michael Gallagher, assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, come 2009, that spectrum will be allocated instead for the WiMax technology that has been much-touted by Intel as the way to offer universal Web access to the masses.

Gallagher at a wireless symposium in San Jose last week called the move an effort to stay “one step ahead” of Asia and Europe in providing affordable, widespread access.

Is he kidding? I can’t imagine he hasn’t been to places like Korea and France, where broadband is more widespread, an order of magnitude faster than even the top speeds offered by U.S. wireless carriers and cheaper per megabyte?

What’s the real reason by this sudden effort? Cash, and plenty of it. The government expects to rake in billions from auctioning off the spectrum, which may become more valuable than gold if enough big-name players like Rupert Murdoch and Craig McCaw sign on more completely to the idea of using WiMax to deliver a quadruple play of services to major U.S. markets.

There’s nothing wrong with auctioning the spectrum, since the government plans to free up obscure bandwidth elsewhere for military and emmergency communications, but let’s at least be honest about the intentions here.

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Reader Comments


January 24, 2006 11:25 AM

Still confused by this reporting of opening up the 700Mhz Spectrum to WiMAX products.
Has the WiMAX Forum been advised of this and have they begun their standards process required to change from their existing products certification in the above 2.0Ghz space??

How long will it take to make this direction change and why would anyone continue development of products in this 2Ghz (and above)spectrum space when they see a 700Mhz gold mine coming along in 2009??

Will the FCC provide for an unlicensed spectrum in the 700 Mhz range?

lorena manzano

June 6, 2006 11:35 AM

por favor ayudenme son un presupuesto para la implementacion de redes wimax


September 30, 2006 11:53 AM

Where to look for information about WiMAX 700MHz deployments ?

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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