Why Are Cables/Telcos Shaking In Their Boots Over WiMAX?

by Thomas Beutel

I saw an interesting demonstration recently of WiMAX (specifically the mobile version, 802.16e) and needless to say, I am impressed. The demo should consistent data rates exceeding 10 megabits/sec in a moving vehicle. The kicker was that upstream speed was better than 2 megabits/sec.

Talk about disruption in the marketplace! This far exceeds 3G of course, and for that matter, it exceeds most cable, DSL, and FIOS installations too.

In San Francisco, FIOS is not even an option–we really have only a choice of AT&T or Comcast at speeds up to 4mbs. But I can imagine a day when somebody like Sprint puts a WiMAX installation on Mt. Sutro tower and makes truly high-speed internet available for San Franciscans. All that would be required is a small receiver mounted on the house and pointed to the tower. Finally a competitive alternative to cable and DSL.

I can see why Comcast is thinking of joining rather than fighting WiMAX. Where will that leave AT&T?