Feeds

Clearwire looks to white space for savings

New network approved, needs paying for

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

While the white space vote might have got all the attention last week - along with that other vote - the FCC also approved the creation of "New Clearwire" and it turns out that the two votes could well prove complementary.

The vote was passed 5-0 and will allow Google and friends - including Time Warner, Comcast, and Intel - to pour their $3.2bn into the venture and take 22 per cent of the company. That leaves Clearwire shareholders with 27 per cent and Sprint Nextel with a controlling 51 per cent ownership.

But even that infusion of cash isn't going to be enough to build the 140 million points of presence New Clearwire is expected to need for national coverage. That's going to set the company back another $2.5bn at least - possibly a lot more, which explains the sudden interest in white space spectrum.

"I think that presents some interesting opportunities for us, and we'll be looking at how we might leverage it in the rural areas," said CEO Benjamin Wolff, in a conference call following the filing of Clearwire's Q3 results, as reported by Information Week. This fits in well with how Motorola sees white-space spectrum being used: medium-distance fixed connections for telco backhaul, rather than the "Wi-Fi on steroids" that some have been promoting.

Clearwire has been running fixed WiMAX services in Baltimore and has been testing mobile WiMAX in Portland. The roll-out is already knocking half a million subscribers thanks to another 8,000 signing up in the last three months - during which it managed a loss of $166m against a revenue of $60.8m.

That Portland, Oregon deployment should be demonstrating the in-building penetration of the technology, though public technical evaluations will have to wait until next year when the service goes commercial. Clearwire is operating around 2.5GHz, which has real trouble getting through walls despite the ways in which the WiMAX protocol attempts to mitigate.

Deploying a national network won't be cheap, and it's not a good time to be raising capital - but this is a long-term investment that will have to outlast the current economic strife. Intel will make sure there are plenty of WiMAX laptops knocking around, and the first WiMAX handsets are already emerging. Clearwire's problems will be building penetration and the cost of rolling out - both areas where white space could offer some relief, assuming that white-space devices end up working at all. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.