Where's WiMAX? THG Gets The Story From Clearwire

Getting The Story Straight On WiMAX

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.

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.

  • jabliese
    At what point do you plan to offer rural services?
  • lamorpa
    Services will be offered in rural areas when the population density goes way up.
  • fwaynedavis
    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.
  • sineira
    When will it be renamed HypeMax?
  • brandnewx
    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.
  • AncientToaster
    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.
  • hellwig
    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.
  • scryer_360
    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.
  • nachowarrior
    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.
  • strider209
    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.