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WiMax is Dead. Long Live WiMax?

in Broadband Stimulus/Mobile Broadband/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, August 5, 2010 – WiMax has always been seen as one of the ideal solutions to bring high-speed internet access to rural America, but it has yet to achieve its full potential.

With the majority of mobile providers choosing long term evolution, or LTE, as their preferred 4G technology, WiMax seems to have lost its momentum. However the technology has become increasingly popular in Asia.

The recent announcement that Clearwire, one of the few nationwide WiMax providers, will begin LTE trials has added another nail in the WiMax coffin. However, on Wednesday the Department of Agriculture awarded 10 grants to Maryland-based Utopian Wireless, which is based on WiMax technology.

WiMax is able to provide high-speed access of up to 144 megabits per second downstream and 35 mbps up over a coverage area of 3,000 square miles.

Clearwire has been making partnerships with Sprint, BestBuy and Comcast and its announcement to test LTE is a bit of a shock.

The firms said in a statement that it plans to conduct the tests in collaboration with Huawei Technologies, the same infrastructure provider which deployed the world’s first commercial LTE network in Europe, using the same spectrum band and flexible base station platform that Clearwire utilizes in the United States

Clearwire also will be testing LTE on Samsung Electronics’ common base station platform, which it currently uses for its mobile WiMAX deployments. During the trials, Clearwire says it will collaborate with Beceem and other partners to determine the “best methods for enabling end-user devices to take advantage of a potential multi-mode WiMAX/LTE network.”

The first trials will begin next year in Phoenix.

Meanwhile, Utopian Wireless is planning to expand its coverage area. The announcement by the Department of Agriculture will allow the firm to expand its network in seven states.

“This funding will allow Utopian to immediately begin providing services to many people who have been left out of the broadband revolution,” said Utopian Chairman and CEO Rudy Geist. “It will also serve as a basis for our continued growth as an emerging 4G wireless provider, enabling Utopian to deploy more markets covered by our considerable 2.5 gHz spectrum position.”

The firm currently holds the rights to the 2.5 gigahertz band of spectrum in 24 states and plans to deploy a large-scale nationwide network.

In Asia, WiMax has grown increasingly popular, a recent report by TeleGeography shows 1.7 million pre-WiMAX and WiMAX customers in Asia at the end of March 2010 compared to 1.4 million in the United States and Canada.

With the global 4G subscriber total standing at more than 5.7 million, the Asia-Pacific region now accounts for 29 percent of the overall market, up from 22 percent a year earlier and just 6 percent at the end of 2006, according to TeleGeography.

Due to the low cost of deployment and wide coverage, it has become a preferred method of distribution for operators in Asia where last mile connections are expensive.

“There is massive potential for high speed internet access in Asia, and WiMAX broadband wireless networks are witnessing strong demand. Growth is coming not just in developing markets like India, but also in more developed markets such as Japan where broadband internet penetration is already relatively high,” said TeleGeography Analyst Peter Bell.

While it has taken a number of years for the promise of WiMax to become a reality, it is finally being implemented. Clearwire is continuously adding new cities to its network and Utopian also will be expanding beyond the sites for which it has received grant funding.

According to statements by Verizon, LTE will not be available for widespread use in the United States until 2012 at the earliest.

Robb Henshaw, director of marketing at Proxim Wireless, does not see a single 4G winner but rather a set of technologies from which consumers can choose.

“In some locations, people will only have access to WiMAX for 4G access. In others, they will only have the option of LTE for 4G access. And in some locations – in 2012 to 2013 – consumers will be lucky enough to have the option to choose either WiMAX or LTE networks. In those cases, just as we see with today’s 3G networks, people will make their choices based on which provider they trust most or which service they’ve received the best recommendations for – but it is highly unlikely that either will displace each other.”

Best Buy to Offer Mobile Broadband Through Clearwire

in Mobile Broadband/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2010 – Best Buy’s new mobile broadband service provider, Best Buy Connect, will be adding 4G options to its customers.

Best Buy has formed a wholesale relationship with Clearwire, and will use Clearwire’s WiMax network to provide customers with mobile broadband beginning in 2011. Best Buy is the first major corporation to partner with Clearwire to provide 4G service under its own brand name. Best Buy Connect has not revealed if the service will be available country-wide or only in areas with WiMax markets.

This relationship will further Best Buy’s focus in creating a store where customers can buy electronic devices, receive support, and set up connectivity at one place. Best Buy Connect currently offers 3G through Sprint, who partly owns Clearwire.

Consortium Aims to Spur Small Business Adoption of Broadband

in Broadband's Impact/FCC/National Broadband Plan by

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2010 – SCORE, a corps of executives providing counseling to small businesses, has partnered with a handful of large firms to donate $1.1 million to help small firms better use broadband technologies. The group was formed in response to the National Broadband Plan recently released by the Federal Communications Commission.

The consortium will offer free broadband-related trainings, tools and resources to small businesses. Nearly 75 percent of small firms have not adopted broadband technologies, often because they lack expertise, according to SCORE.

SCORE’s 364 chapters across the United States will use these new resources to help boost digital literacy, web skills and e-commerce capabilities.

Vice President and General Manager David Gurle of Skype for Business, one of the consortium leaders, said his firm is involved to help small firms better utilize broadband connectivity to lower costs and reach new markets in the United States and abroad.

“More than 35 percent of our users say they are using Skype for business purposes,” Gurle said. “We believe that Skype is an essential tool for helping businesses to save time, save money and stay ahead in today’s global economy.”

Other consortium founders are AT&T, Best Buy, Cisco Systems, Constant Contact, Google, Hewlett Packard, Intuit, Microsoft and Time Warner Cable Business Class. Small business partners are DRT Strategies and Engage.

BroadbandCensus.com People Column: Nicole Silverman Joins Qorvis

in Broadband's Impact/Premium Content by

WASHINGTON, November 6, 2009 – The corporate communications firm Qorvis has brought Nicole Silverman on board to work on technology and telecom policy issues and reputation management for foreign governments. Silverman, whose title will be director, was most recently an account manager in Waggener Edstrom’s public affairs practice where she oversaw the development and implementation of international public affairs programs for Fortune 500 companies, foundations and trade associations. At Waggener Edstrom, Silverman developed an expertise in telecom policy.

Silverman spent five years as a management consultant in London with clients from U.K. government agencies and European Commission Directorates General. She began her career in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she developed public affairs campaigns on health issues.

Former HP CEO Running For Senate

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina on Wednesday announced her candidacy for one of California’s Senate seats. Fiorina was an advisor to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during his run for the White House last year and was the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. She has also served as an executive vice president at AT&T. Fiorina received a lot of media attention in 2005 when [more...]

In the section of this article included as premium content, the People Column includes more about Carly Fiorina’s tech ties – and those of another state-wide candidate in California, about the confirmation hearing of the new intellectual property czar, about Best Buy, and about a pioneering inventor who passed away this week.

Content available for Paid and Trial Subscribers of BroadbandCensus.com Premium Content. Click here to subscribe.

[private_Premium Content][private_Free Trial][continues...] Fiorina was ousted by HP’s board.

Fiorina is currently serving as Chairman of the Board for The Technology Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. TPI is a think tank that focuses on the economics of innovation and technological change. It’s headed by Thomas Lenard, who previously served as acting president, senior vice president for research and senior fellow at The Progress & Freedom Foundation. TPI’s Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow Scott Wallsten is currently on leave serving as the economics director for the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Task Force.

Fiorina isn’t the only tech top gun running for office in California. Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly is currently on leave to fundraise and campaign for his bid to be the state’s next attorney general. In addition to his work for Facebook, Kelly has practiced law in Silicon Valley and served as an aide to former President Bill Clinton.

While Fiorina lists health, small business, taxes and energy as her platform issues, Kelly has added a number of tech specific issues to his agenda including telemarketing fraud, Internet safety, and a “need to develop the methods and technology to track the activity and capture identity thieves.”

IP Czar Gets Confirmation Hearing

Former U.S. Assistant Trade Representative Victoria Espinel who was chosen by President Obama to serve as his intellectual property enforcement coordinator appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week for her confirmation hearing. Espinel taught at George Mason University School of Law after leaving the USTR. Though former President George Bush created the position of U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement and filled it with Chris Israel, the intellectual property czar has been elevated to a White House position under President Obama.

Broadcasting & Cable reported that during Espinel’s hearing she said that one of the first issues she will deal with is how to balance a free and open internet while protecting against online piracy. Her confirmation has been supported by the American Intellectual Property Law Association, Copyright Alliance, International Trademark Association, Public Knowledge, Motion Picture Association of America, National Music Publishers’ Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and others.

Best Buy Moves Into Washington

Best Buy is looking for a director of government relations to “help lead the company’s first Washington D.C.- based operation.” The director will “guide the company’s federal government affairs agenda and provide leadership on a broad range of legislative, regulatory and public policy issues affecting competitive positioning,” according to the job description. The company is hoping to find someone with an advanced degree and 12 or more years of direct experience in a corporate government relations, trade association, or government position.

Remembering A Great One

Robert Rines, a tech inventor, public policy shaper and patent lawyer, passed away this week. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in a release that the scanning systems used to locate the wrecks of the Titanic and the Bismarck were dependent on Rines’ inventions. He earned more than 100 patents in his lifetime including a number for electronic apparatuses used to improve the resolution of radar and sonar scanning.

“We’ve lost a tremendous advocate for those who have deep technical training as a first base, and go on to shape law and policy around the globe,” Dedric Carter, assistant dean of engineering at MIT, said in a statement.
Rines made his first contribution to the emerging technology of high-resolution image-scanning radar while earning his bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT. He served as a radar officer in World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters and latter earned a law degree from Georgetown University while serving as a patent examiner in the United States Patent Office.

Rines taught patent law at Harvard University, where he wrote “Create or Perish.” He latter rejoined MIT where he taught classes on using intellectual property to start new companies and encouraging innovation until the spring of 2008.

In 1963, Rines founded the Academy of Applied Science, nonprofit organization devoted to the promotion of science and technology education. In 1973, Rines founded the Franklin Pierce Law Center, an institute focused on the study of intellectual property law. In his spare time, Rines wrote music for more than 10 Broadway and off-Broadway shows and shared an Emmy in 1987 for his composition for the television production of “Hizzoner The Mayor.”

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New Feature: This Week in Mobile Broadband

in Premium Content/Wireless by

By Alex Tcherkassky, Reporter, BroadbandCensus.com

Editor’s Note: Today, BroadbandCensus.com unveils a new feature, “This Week in Mobile Broadband,” written by Alex Tcherkassky, a Washington-based reporter for BroadbandCensus.com with a strong background in the wireless industry.

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2009 – Currently, all four carriers offer five Gigabytes (GB) of aircard-based broadband for $59.99 per month. Sprint, however, also has a plan that includes unlimited Wi-Max coverage (where available) for $79.99 per month. The commonality of price and bandwidth offerings provides little to no reason to change carriers to get mobile broadband, but makes it more appealing to simply add an aircard to your current account. Still, it’s surprising that neither T-Mobile nor Sprint have either lowered the price on their 5 GB plans or offered more or unlimited bandwidth at the $59.99 price point to try and take customers away from AT&T and Verizon Communications.

Monday June 8, 2009

Sprint announced a new mobile broadband plan for corporate-liable accounts. The plan provides 500 MB of access for $39.99 per month. This could be very appealing for companies with employees who have a wired connection in the office but need additional coverage for off-site work.

AT&T announced that the new iPhone 3GS would offer tethering at no additional charge. Until now, the only tethering option for the iPhone was via jailbreaking the device. Also, there will be no change to the thirty dollar price point of the iPhone data plan, making tethering the iPhone 3GS more appealing than tethering an AT&T BlackBerry, which would both be capped at 5 GB and cost $65 per month.

Wednesday June 10, 2009

Virgin Mobile USA announced a range of prepaid broadband options. Dubbed “Broadband2Go,” the service will go live in late June and will be accessed via the Ovation MC760 USB modem from Novatel. The MC760 will be available exclusively at Best Buy. The aircard also contains a Micro-SD card reader, turning the modem into a flash drive, similarly to the USB modem used with T-Mobile’s 3G aircard service. Most innovative about Virgin’s offering are the price plans: 30-day plans are set at $20, $40 and $60 dollars for 250 Megabytes (MB), 600 MB or one GB, respectively. The interesting price plan is the $10, ten day, 100 MB plan. The availability of such an ultra-low commitment plan could provide a low-risk option for people without broadband access who worry that the internet isn’t worth the forty or more dollars a month that traditional broadband access can cost. The added fact that it’s mobile may do even more to get these non-adopters online.

Friday June 12, 2009

America’s broadcasters have officially made the switch to digital. This means that the coveted 700 megahertz spectrum that was auctioned off last year can finally start being utilized for next generation mobile broadband. AT&T and Verizon, who won the lion’s share of the spectrum, can move forward with their fourth-generation (4G) networks. With the new spectrum available it will be exciting to see the slough of devices and services that come to market.

Widespread Telecommuting Could Save Consumers $228 Billion, Businesses $260 Billion

in Broadband's Impact by

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2009 – Working from home could save United States consumers $228 billion, add $260 billion to companies’ bottom line, and save the government another $14 billion, according to a study released Tuesday by Undress4success.com.

“Using the recently-released U.S. Census American Community Survey figures, and data from over a dozen authoritative studies, the calculator quantifies what every city, county, region, Congressional District, and State in the nation could save through telecommuting / work-from-home initiatives,” according to a press release from the California-based group.

It was referring to a web-based calculator that allows individuals and organizations to model cost-savings obtainable from telecommuting. The calculator is available
at http://undress4success.com/research/telework-savings-calculator.

According to the research, “currently less than six million Americans consider home their regular workplace—more than half of them are self-employed. Undress4Success.com’s research show that another 33 million people hold jobs that are telework-compatible and eager to work from home.”

“If they did so just half of the time (roughly the national average for those who already do), businesses could improve their bottom line by over $7,900 per new telecommuter per year—the result of lower real estate, electricity, absenteeism, and turnover costs together with increased employee productivity,” adds the statement.

Teleworking is estimated to have saved Sun Microsystems $70 million a year in real estate alone; McKesson $2 million a year in real estate and other expenses; Dow Chemical a third of its non-real estate costs through telework while Best Buy, British Telecom, J.D. Edwards, and American Express “show home-based employees to be 20-40% more productive than their office counterparts.”

The calculator results, the statement added, are based on new research conducted by telecommuting advocates Kate Lister and Tom Harnish, authors of the newly published Undress For Success—The Naked Truth About Making Money at Home (Wiley, March 2009).

The Undress4Success.com web site offers individuals, companies, and researchers a wide range of resources on telecommuting, freelancing, and home-based businesses.

According to author and web site owner Lister, “widespread adoption of virtual technologies, in particular teleconferencing and video conferencing, will reduce the need for business travel” and take the equivalent of 15 million cars off the road.

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