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Economic Stimulus - Can WiMAX capitalize on changes in the capital?

21 января 2009

As part of an economic stimulus package proposed by the Obama administration and House Democrats, 6B$ has been identified for improvements to broadband connectivity.  The announcement has generated much interest and speculation for both wireline and wireless carriers alike.  In the WiMAX ecosystem many are wondering whether there will be a role for WiMAX and amongst other considerations, will it be perceived as an enabler for broadband connectivity.

Another consideration for the incoming administration is a2B$ proposal by Sprint Nextel for nation-wide wireless connectivity for emergency services first responders.  The proposal presented by Sprint Nextel would deploy physical and human resources to support wireless communication to scenes of need within 4 hours.  These resources would include satellite backhaul equipped trucks and large complements of handsets that would be dispatched from some 40 sites across the country.

The need for a rapidly deployable, interoperable solution for emergency communications has been underscored by the tragic events of 9/11 and also by natural disasters such as hurricanes that have been impacting the US on a more significant and frequent basis.  Sprint Nextel has proposed something that would seem to have some broad appeal; it's addressing a need and it's a proposal that wouldn't take long to move forward if it were to be accepted and ultimately implemented.  Is there a role for WiMAX in the proposal?

Sprint Nextel doesn't include much detail beyond the inclusion of satellite backhaul in their description of the proposed solution.  The company has the obvious existing assets of a nationwide CDMA network, iDEN and the more recently deployed WiMAX networks, through Clear in Baltimore and Portland, OR.  Any of these technologies could create a feasible solution but is it a patchwork of wireless technologies that should be employed to connect technically disparate responders or should there be a more homogenous approach using a broadly deployed, advanced wireless technologies?

Sprint Nextel's proposal demonstrates merit in the short term and while stopping short of being a wide-reaching lever for economic stimulus, it may serve to provoke thought and attention to the need for that homogenous approach.  It is likely that under incoming FCC Chair candidate Julius Genachowski there will be a re-think of the failed D-Block auction of last year.  That coupled with the 6B$ commitment to improve broadband connectivity could create a real opportunity for a longer-term, advanced technology solution to the need for nationwide emergency communications needs as well as serving a stimulus to the economy and ultimately the WiMAX ecosystem.


by Andrew Mitchell, Contributing Editor

Источник: WiMAX Trends

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