Ah to be Clearwire right now – or at least once the new deal with Sprint et al goes through. A new technology to play with, a tremendous pile of money that will last a while, and the chance to build, build, build for years on end. It is an engineer’s dream really. Of course, it might not be a banker’s dream, or even an investor’s dream – I can’t really say on those counts. But for those of us who like to design something new, put it together, make it work, then make it work better, then take it apart and build it again from scratch another way that’s even better – the place to be right now might be Clearwire. The carriers are all working on their backoffices, integrating stuff – important stuff surely. But in a way it is like running on a treadmill as compared to jogging through a verdant river valley – the first you do because you need to, the second because you want to.
Will Wimax deliver on its promises? I do hope so, a real alternative last mile pipe is something we desperately need. But when one is building something that has never been built before, the end result will always be hard to judge. How will Clearwire handle its backhaul needs, given that copper just can’t do it? LMDS? Fiber to the towers? I don’t know, but from an engineer’s perspective whatever happens will at least be new, interesting, and of course fun.
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