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Where's WiMAX? THG Gets The Story From Clearwire

Where's WiMAX? THG Gets The Story From Clearwire

These days, if you want to launch a new wireless technology, you either must be on to something really good or else you’re totally insane and about to lose a freakin’ fortune. Recent history is littered with examples. Wireless USB? Nowhere. Ultra-Wideband? As if. And the city-blanketing “metro WiFi” services? Train wrecks...and that’s being kind.

 John Storch is the vice president of network deployment at Clearwire. He has directed Clearwire’s network rollouts in 50 cities in the U.S. and abroad. John Storch is the vice president of network deployment at Clearwire. He has directed Clearwire’s network rollouts in 50 cities in the U.S. and abroad.

Now, after years of trials and spot deployments around the world, we finally have WiMAX entering the fray. As of this writing, two U.S. cities, Baltimore and Portland, Oregon, now have city-wide WiMAX service, and there’s little doubt that provider Clearwire (which snapped up many of Sprint’s wireless assets recently) plans to increase its market coverage as quickly as customers, regulators, and balance sheets allow. Soon, WiMAX may be hitting your town. Is the technology ready for prime time? We sat down with VP of network deployment John Storch to get the whole story.

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  • 0 Hide
    jabliese , March 13, 2009 1:27 PM
    At what point do you plan to offer rural services?
  • 0 Hide
    lamorpa , March 13, 2009 2:16 PM
    Services will be offered in rural areas when the population density goes way up.
  • 0 Hide
    fwaynedavis , March 13, 2009 2:25 PM
    Rural is a tough market, but Clearwire does a good job of pushing tech out early in small markets, I know from experience. In most cases they are the only game in town. But Wimax will be very slow to come to rural unless prices drop, this stuff costs a fortune.
  • 0 Hide
    sineira , March 14, 2009 8:17 PM
    When will it be renamed HypeMax?
  • 1 Hide
    brandnewx , March 15, 2009 1:41 AM
    In Cambodia, the wireless network standards are already WiMax and 3G. In fact, I'm using both technologies in my home office for two years now.
  • 0 Hide
    AncientToaster , March 16, 2009 3:31 PM
    My family lives in Portland, and we got Clear when it rolled out at the introductory price of $25/month. It rocks--much faster then 3G, and much, much cheaper then traditional broadband. In our area the only broadband available besides Clear and 3G is cable, at twice the price.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , March 16, 2009 4:54 PM
    Doesn't handling VOIP traffic separately make it a telephone network subject to the same rules and regulations as a traditional telephone provider? Isn't Comcast getting in trouble for providing a special network for their cable phone service?

    I can't believe I've been hearing so much about WiMax (which devices support it, complaint when some devices don't support it), when it only exists in two U.S. markets. It's bad enough that 3G coverage is so spotty, like we need another, even sparser service.
  • 0 Hide
    scryer_360 , March 16, 2009 10:57 PM
    Thanks to Toms for the interview, we consumers now know more.

    But I wonder: why didn't you talk to him about the differences between WiMax and LTE? Both are all packet designed apps, but LTE is (apparently) the future of US data communications, according to some. I'd like to see Clearwire's vision of high speed wireless data being the best, but I can't without some input on their choice to do WiMax over LTE.
  • 0 Hide
    nachowarrior , March 18, 2009 4:01 PM
    South Carolina was supposed to go statewide, but it's biggest cable broadband server allegedly paid them off, oh, and was also somehow allowed to operate in one of it's biggest cities for two years illegally, without a lisence, and owe 2 million to the state before anything came up.... and this came up about the same time the state wanted to roll out statewide free coverage... hmmmm... I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED??? anyway, just another disappointment thanks to politics and money lubing the gears.
  • 0 Hide
    strider209 , March 18, 2009 11:00 PM
    I had clearwire when I lived in the outskirts of Tracy, CA. My only other choices were dial-up or satellite. Both were of course slower than clearwire. The ability to be portable was nice, but I never used it. My best speeds were around 3Mbps but there was quite a bit of latency. For me, clearwire was my best option and decently priced, but if it was available I would prefer DSL or cable.
  • 0 Hide
    TechnologyCoordinator , March 19, 2009 2:53 PM
    lamorpaServices will be offered in rural areas when the population density goes way up.

  • 0 Hide
    farmtech , March 20, 2009 9:27 PM
    lamorpaServices will be offered in rural areas when the population density goes way up.

    Is lamorpa making a joke? We're not laughing. It's bad enough I get flyers for FiOS with my landline bill--a service they can't actually offer me.

    Verizon keeps pouring money upgrading areas that already have acceptable connectivity and none in areas where the copper is barely capable of noisy dialup. I love how they claim they want to replace all their copper with fiber. Seriously? :( 
  • 0 Hide
    louden , April 16, 2009 8:02 PM
    Let me speak for the thousands of very dissatisifed Clearwire customers out there -

    Sure their current service may be overpriced compared to DSL and have dismal speeds over time, that's not the worst. The worst is there impossible customer support and the long term contracts they lock and then RE-LOCK their customers into, making it difficult and costly for customer to leave the relationship. My advice is to be extremely careful working with this company.