A statewide wireless broadband network is planned for South Carolina
. The goal is for schools, homes, public safety workers, municipalities, hospitals and health care workers, businesses and visitors to have Internet access anytime and anywhere, in rural or urban areas
, says Rep. Dwight Loftis
, a Greenville Republican who co-authored the bill to fund the project.
Loftis has told The Greenville News that he hopes South Carolina can provide free basic wireless broadband service in exchange for letting providers use the towers, some excess state licensed frequencies, and charge for faster services. The state’s network of educational television towers provides an initial infrastructure to make this futuristic sounding venture a reality, said state
But Rep. Greg Delleney, opposes the bill because he said the network would compete with private businesses already offering Internet access.
Meanwhile, Vermont’s e-state initiative is gathering bi-partisan support. Passage of Vermont’s broadband and telecommunications bill, which calls for border-to-border broadband and cellular coverage, is expected soon.
The $20 million wireless network would allow collaboration between industry, and the public and private sectors. Users would include government agencies, businesses, and education institutions. It is not planned to provide network access for individual consumer usage.
The Bill is now before the state Senate. It is the centerpiece of Gov. Jim Douglas’s e-state initiative to provide ubiquitous broadband coverage across his state by 2010.
Vermont is proposing a state-wide network. Governor Jim Douglas proposes a Vermont Telecommunications Authority that will partner with private enterprise to build the infrastructure to support universal broadband and cellular coverage.
By 2010, the Governor wants Vermont be the nation’s first true “e-state” – the first state to provide universal cellular and broadband coverage everywhere and anywhere within its borders. The state will back $40 million of bonding by the Authority, which will leverage more than $200 million in private investment.
Big phone and cable companies are reluctant to upgrade and expand their networks in sparsely populated places where there are not enough customers to justify the investment, explains the NY Times. Instead, they are funneling billions of dollars into projects in cities and suburbs where the prospects for a decent return are higher.
AREA: 9,249 square miles
PEOPLE PER SQUARE MILE: 65.8
AREA: 1,044 square miles
PEOPLE PER SQUARE MILE: 1,033
AREA: 30,109 square miles
PEOPLE PER SQUARE MILE: 133
AREA: 97,073 square miles
PEOPLE PER SQUARE MILE: 35.6
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005
Unwire Oregon, May 1st in Corvallis (on the campus of Oregon State), brings national and international leaders together to discuss how broadband wireless will change our communities. This conference is not about how technology works but how technology changes how we work and learn.
Unwire Oregon features lots of great speakers including Ron Resnick, Chairman of WiMAX Forum, Chris Sacca, Head of Special Initiatives for Google, One Economy’s Rey Ramsey, M2Z Networks’s Jon Muleta, Tropos Network’s Ron Sege, and many others.
The economics of municipal WiFi is still a question for EarthLink, which said Thursday it will study the performance of its municipal wireless Internet networks in four cities — Philadelphia, New Orleans and California’s Anaheim and Milpitas — before deciding how to move forward with similar Wi-Fi networks elsewhere.
EarthLink is “not yet able to establish that comfort level” that the investments are really profitable, said Kevin Dotts, EarthLink’s chief financial officer.
That doesn’t mean EarthLink is pulling the plug on cities under contract, like Houston, which would eventually be the nation’s largest network at about 600 square miles, Dotts said. EarthLink is also pitching a muni plan for Chicago.
Taipei’s Wi-Fi system, the world’s largest, with more than 4,200 antennas and counting, has fallen far short of expectations, reports the SF Chronicle. But that hasn’t detered the city, which plans to expand their network using WiMAX.
Ian Haight (above), COO of Freewire, is using (among other options), Airspan WiMAX gear to provide low cost backhaul using fixed WiMAX in the unlicensed 5.8 GHz band. Stephouse Networks also delivers 5.8GHz WiMAX in the Portland area, using Proxim gear. They are also unwiring the college town of Corvallis, Oregon.
Clearwire is using licensed frequencies with Motorola basestations while Sprint WiMAX will be using Nokia basestations (in Portland). Tim Sweeney, Director of WiMAX Mobile Applications Lab for Intel, told DailyWireless editor Sam Churchill last week that Clearwire should have 40-50 WiMAX basestations operating in the Portland Metro area by the end of this year. Sweeney says interoperability and roaming is planned between the competing Mobile WiMAX providers.
Clearwire ended 2006 with around 206,000 wireless broadband users and had about 258,000 users at the end of the first quarter of this year. According to Wireless Week, Clearwire has licenses for 2.5 GHz spectrum covering 210 million people in the United States covering all or parts of 72 of the top 100 markets.
Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff will deliver the keynote address at the Wireless Communications Association International annual convention, June 13, in Washington, D.C.
Sprint’s Mobile WiMAX network will cover Chicago, Washington and Baltimore by the end of this year. Sprint expects the $3 billion project to reach more than 100 million Americans in 16 other cities by the end of 2008. Sprint and Clearwire are going head-to-head in Michigan. Clearwire’s business rates for broadband wireless will range from $40 to $50 per month, with $30 to $40 for households.
In the largest deployment of WiMAX anywhere in the world, state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will soon float a tender to offer wireless broadband service in 1,000 cities across India.
All citizens of India may receive free 2Mbps internet by 2009, according to IndiaTimes. The government is proposing that the service would be provided by the state-owned BSNL and MTNL. Officials backing the plan are hoping that giving all residents access to high-speed internet would “boost economic activity”.
Globally, WiMAX, termed a disruptive technology by Business Week, is undergoing over 200 trials and deployed at some 40 locations commercially.
The Chinese WiMAX market will reach 8.39 million users in 2011, says the Yankee Group. Of the 8.39 mln users in 2011, nomadic and portable broadband access users will lead the Chinese market, accounting for 46% of the market in 2011. Mobile broadband and low-cost fixed wireless access services will come in second and third, accounting for 43% and 11% of the market, respectively, according to the Yankee Group.
Wireless Singapore utilizes three local wireless operators to deploy a free wireless broadband network. Using Firetide mesh products in the first phase, it supplies access speeds of up to 512kbps in public areas. The Wireless@SG project, targets people on-the-go who require wireless broadband access.
Large-scale wireless deployments are complex and governments should spend time upfront to develop a plan that will fit the needs of the community, says Firetide. They found the following areas to be key project elements that can be replicated for U.S. municipalities:
Select a Model That Works for Your Community – Singapore instituted for a government sponsored initiative Wireless@SG to ensure Wi-Fi access would be available to all its citizens. To cover the entire country of Singapore, multiple operators were utilized for regional zones to make the deployment more manageable.
- Consider Future Applications – The government decided that it would include Wi-Fi access throughout all regions. It also called for future applications for voice and mobility so that wireless connectivity could be tapped while on the go.
- Test and Correct Installation at Every Step – During the deployment, the service provider learned that the best location for an access point was not necessarily the best location for a wireless mesh node. Based on “test and correct method,” iCELL and Firetide engineers learned that placing wireless nodes up high, for best backhaul performance and place access points closer to the user communities allowed for the best network coverage.
- Set Clear Expectations About Coverage: The free Wi-Fi service is slated to be available island-wide in major indoors and outdoors public places, but not in residential areas, where broadband connections are readily available. Setting expectations upfront, and planning for reliable performance in indoor public venues (cafes, malls, government buildings) prevented issues commonly seen in some of the U.S. Wi-Fi deployments.
Related DailyWireless articles include; Portland Gets MobileWiMAX?, State-wide Wireless Broadband Access, Mobile TV: Six Flavors, Grand Rapids + Clearwire, Clearwire Launches in Seattle, Clearwire’s $900M Payday, WiMAX World 2006, WiMAX Interop: Good So Far, Maravedis WiMAX Report, Intel Inside Clearwire, Moto in MobileWiMAX Chips, Sprint: It’s WiMAX! and Mobile WiMAX: It Begins