FCC moves WiMax forward

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday took the first step towards reassigning frequencies to enable high-speed, wireless broadband in the U.S. This is a major development in wireless communications here, although there are conflicting opinions as to how it will be used. It’s called WiMax, a wireless broadband capable of competing with cable and dsl. There is considerable muscle behind WiMax development. Nextel and Sprint already own about 2/3 of the spectrum, and WiMax is the rising star for chip giant Intel.

Dailywireless.org has a thorough overview, including a suggestion that WiMax may actually not be the target.

Since 5.5 MHz harmonizes nicely with 5 Mhz requirements of W‑CDMA3G”, perhaps WCA (Wireless Communications Association) members really just want to sell out. And perhaps what the FCC really wants is to auction unused frequencies to cellular carriers. What’s it worth…$50 billion? Would cellular carriers “buy out” Wi-Max spectrum holders before it becomes a competitive threat? Will the “low power” bands be enough to provide competitive Wi-Max service in the United States? Will the new unlicensed TV band prove viable?
These are all excellent questions. My belief is that the U.S. is already so far behind in 3G technology that the logical competitive jump is to go straight to WiMax, and that’s what this order allows. Wireless broadband is hot, hot, hot, and while 3rd-generation cellphones come close, they don’t have all that WiMax portends.

Comments

  1. WiMax and 3G don’t provide the same features, (e.g. WiMax can’t work with phones) so it would be unwise to “go straight to WiMax”.

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