Cablevision is providing high-speed data and telephone services to customers in South Florida via MVDDS (Multi-Channel Video and Data Distribution Services), along with VDSL (Very high bit rate Digital Subscriber Line) and WiMAX. Cablevision calls its service OMGFAST, formerly known as Clearband, charging subscribers $29.95 monthly for a 50 Mbps Internet connection that competes with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and other cable operators.
Clearband has debuted in South Florida and has announced a major expansion. It offers premium Internet services to residential and small business customers around Broward and Palm Beach counties (faq).
MVDDS uses the same 500 MHz spectrum between 12.2 Gigahertz to 12.7 Gigahertz as direct satellite broadcasting. Instead of bouncing signals off satellites, MVDDS uses a terrestrial point-to-multipoint network. But there is a catch– the FCC has limited the system to only downstream data traffic, requiring providers to use another technology for the return path. Customers receive a direct broadband signal from Clearband’s tower transmitters to their homes.
DTV Norwich, an affiliate of Cablevision, won licenses in 46 areas (pdf), including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Miami, Cleveland, Nashville, and Tampa-St. Petersburg. MDS America is another significant operator.
How does MVDDS avoid interfering with satellites? Clearband subscribers point their MVDDS dishes North, to a terrestrial tower. Geosynchronous satellites, by contrast, are located relatively high in the Southern hemisphere, especially in South Florida.