Tough News for WiMax... Err, for the U.S.A.
It seeemed like some rough sledding for WiMax in the news this morning. But on second look, the subtext of the news was more about how the U.S. is falling behind again in the wireless bandwidth world. News.com's Ben Chamy reports that Nextel has dropped WiMax from their plans. Ben writes:
The reason? Among others, WiMax isn't yet ready for the rigors of delivering broadband to people on the move. Also, Nextel spokesman Aaron Radelet said Tuesday, the carrier doesn't have access to the appropriate spectrum for WiMax. That's why the nation's fifth-largest cell phone service provider favors either the same cell phone equipment Verizon Communications now uses to sell broadband in 20 major markets, or even faster but lesser-known wireless equipment using Flarion Technologies' FLASH-OFDM technology, a spokesman for the carrier said.The Inquirer's Wil Harris writes that Intel's WiMAX plans face huge threat. He writes that competition from the 802.20 standard "...could shatter the dreams of those backing WiMAX..." according to a paper just out in the Journal of Communications Network. The main reason? 802.20 uses the more common spectrum - licensed bands up to 3.5 GHz... Sense a trend?
Adding fuel to the fire, Businessweek's Alex Salkever offers a news analyis this week entitled WiMax: Between Hype and Hot Stuff. In the article Salkever reports that Broadcom has declined to include WiMax compatibility in its next line of chips for communications in PCs. He also addresses the issue of bandwidth:
One other potential drawback: The Federal Communications Commission has chosen to allocate radio spectrum in the 3.5- and 10-gigahertz bands to private WiMax providers. The rest of the developed world has WiMax allocation in different spectrum locations. That means gearmakers will have to customize WiMax equipment for the U.S., possibly driving up costs.While these reporters each project some doom and gloom for WiMax due to the spectrum allocation issues, a more important issue lurks below the surface -- namely, is the FCC yet again dooming the US to being a backward country when it comes to high speed network access? Why can't we get in line with the rest of the world when it comes to bandwidth allocation? Frankly, the developing world needs WiMax more than we do and so the technology will continue to develop and will be deployed... outside the U.S. If only we could sort out the spectrum here, we could participate in the rewards of cheap high speed wireless data access. Otherwise we will find ourselves the last market served with inferior, more expensive equipment.