though. Sprint has taken heat for its choice to focus on WiMAX in a meaningful way. Some investors seem nervous about the choice, but there are those who are optimistic.
A few weeks ago at the Consumer Electronics show in Vegas, Motorola Senior VP Fred Wright talked about the several thousand access points Motorola has shipped, which essentially serve as broadcast towers, and the 20,000 end user points that have also been shipped. Those are worldwide numbers, but in Chicago alone there are 300-400 WiMAX access points in place as a part of Sprint's WiMAX project, expected to go through soft launch in just a few months. Other projects he mentioned include the Wateen WiMAX network in Pakistan, which includes 700 access points and counting.
Still, WiMAX is, to date, a largely unproven technology. In spite of its promise, it still will take time to determine limits and optimize the technology.
It's fairly expensive to implement, as well. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in the UK estimates that a nationwide WiMAX network in the United States would cost some 3 billion dollars to implement.
Likewise, there have been issues over the spectrum range in which WiMAX would operate. Globally, WiMAX operates between 2.5 and 2.7 GHz. In India, for example, that band is reserved for satellite based mobile and broadcast applications, like national emergencies. Therefore, India must conduct its WiMAX operations on different bandwidths, which complicates the situation.
Time will tell the tale of WiMAX, and we will determine if it was all, in fact, it was cracked up to be.
Cable: The Seeming Heir Apparent.
Whereas the jury may still be out on WiMAX, cable has certainly proven its worth. We know it works, and works well. Cablecos are currently delivering triple-play services that are reliable and high-quality. VoIP is old news, and call quality is strong. It seems, as far as residential service, that cable has come into its own. Still, there are considerations to be made.
First of all, cable has outgrown its original design paradigm. “Cable, when initially installed, wasn't intended for telecom/data services,” says Clausen. “This continues to present problems for cable companies as they have to refit systems to accommodate new demands on them.” Indeed, cable is