Shelly Palmer

Telcos Taking it to the WiMax


BellSouth Corp. will begin offering wireless-broadband service in Athens, Ga. Verizon Communications Inc. is expanding its use of wireless broadband, to two towns in Illinois. The telcos are dipping their feet into the WiMax water … how will it feel?


For about $43 per month, users of these pre-WiMax wireless broadband test services will be able to do everything their wired counterparts can do with a high-speed connection: surf the web, download, upload, etc. Yep, it’s real broadband – only you won’t have to take any other services … wow!

Will the public service commissions in these, and other, municipalities require the telcos to open these networks to the competition? Or, will these trials simply pave the way for other companies to fill a huge void in the marketplace. Although the WiMax standard has not yet been certified, the 802.16 specification may spaun devices that have a 10-30 mile range. This means great wireless broadband connectivity in your car, home, personal media device, WiMax VoIP phone … it’s almost too exciting to think about.

I don’t want to be skeptical, but this does not sound like a very “phone company” thing to be playing with. Anyone who ever tried to use the full features of the cellular telephone knows that the telcos are extremely proprietary about the feature sets and the walls in their gardens are totalitarian. This WiMax test, though welcome, makes me wonder.