Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sprint, Clearwire, others would develop national wireless "hot spot" for "ordinary" consumers


On Wednesday. May 7, USA Today has a big banner headline, “Wireless plan: Make entire USA a ‘hot spot’. The story in the Money Section (B) is “Deal shakes up wireless world: Sprint, Clearwire join forces to build “Wimax” network,” in a story by Leslie Cauley, link here. Backers would include Intel, Comcast, Time Warner, and Google.

Over 50% of the country would be included by 2010. It is not clear yet what the cost would be for consumers.

Generally, wireless companies offer plans to consumers that offer secured hot spot service in restaurants, shopping malls, airports, hotels, and some public areas around the country. It is safer to use a subscription service than a “free one” offered by many hotels (which now may be starting to charge fees anyway to increase bottom lines given recession and economic problems). Moderate income apartment residents don’t always have reliable cable, especially in lower cost areas, but lower income people and baby boomer retirees are starting to expect high speed service and need it. This plan could offer a big improvement in generativity and neutral customer access. One major reason that expanded wireless would be important will also be that dialup connections may be too slow to do the enormous automatic security downloads (from Microsoft and anti-virus companies) required by modern home computing.

There is more on this on my Internet safety blog (see my profile).

Update: May 8

The Washington Post today provides much more detailed coverage a story by Kim Hart and Cecilia King:

"Clearwire, Sprint Nextel Set Course for WiMax: $12 Billion Partnership to Focus on Speed and Distance," link here. The print version in Business Section D01 has a diagram that explains some of the practical difficulties.

Kim Hart also writes "FCC to Test Transition to Digital TV in N.C.: Wilmington's Rollout to Begin Sept. 8," link here, p D03 in print.

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