Monday, December 8, 2008

City Council Hearing on WiMAX

City Council held a meeting this morning on the possible future in Pittsburgh of 4th generation WiMAX technology, which was initiated recently in Baltimore and will soon be operational in Portland, Oregon. Clearwire, with 46 pre-WiMAX markets, recently merged with a division of Sprint to build a national WiMAX network.

Speakers noted that one challenge of new technological opportunities is how to assure that all residents can share the benefits, regardless of income level. Clearwire representative John Bunce says his company usually doesn't ask for public subsidies but frequently makes arrangements to discount services to the municipality and to low-income residents in exchange for access to public locations to hang their equipment.

Bunce says Clearwire has more spectrum than AT&T or Verizon; WiMAX has a much higher radius than WiFi, is slower than Fios but faster than DSL. He doubts Pittsburgh could get WiMAX as early as 2009.

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