While most of the attention about Broadband Wireless Internet Access in the US has been focused on the to-be-auctioned 700 MHz band and the political theater of potentially changing the auction rules to accommodate public/private partnerships and "openness", there has been a small trickle of announcements of Mobile WiMAX deployments in the US that (gasp!) are independent of Sprint or Clearwire.
The latest such announcement (press release) is that Solo Direct Connect will deploy Mobile WiMAX service in the Greater Quad Cities area of Davenport, IA, Bettendorf, IA, Moline and East Moline, IL, and Rock Island, IL. Solo Direct Connect is an existing Broadband Wireless Internet Access Service Provider currently using Motorola Canopy systems operating in the various license-exempt 5 GHz bands to provide fixed Broadband Wireless Internet Access service.
Solo Direct Connect will operate its Mobile WiMAX system using 2.5 GHz spectrum in a lease arrangement with Eastern Iowa Community College District. Part of the agreement is that Solo Direct Connect will provide Mobile WiMAX service to College District students, staff, and faculty. (Apparently that covers the requirement that leasing of Educational Broadband Service spectrum have a significant "... educational use of EBS spectrum".)
The vendor behind these announcements is Navini, whose "Smart WiMAX" system is a evolution of proprietary Broadband Wireless Internet Access technology and systems that Navini has been selling for several years. Navini made an easier transition to Mobile WiMAX than most other vendors because their earlier, proprietary BWIA technology incorporated "beamforming", which is integral to successful operations of Mobile WiMAX (especially for the relatively weak signal client-to-base-station uplink path).
Kudos to Solo Direct Connect for taking a non-conventional path in offering Broadband Wireless Internet Access - from dialup, to DSL, to license-exempt fixed-only BWIA, and now full-mobility Mobile WiMAX using licensed spectrum. Impressive indeed for the Greater Quad Cities area to have cutting-edge Mobile WiMAX Broadband Wireless Internet Access service considerably in advance of the rest of the US, and most impressive, from an independent Service Provider.
By Steve Stroh
This article is Copyright © 2007 by Steve Stroh. Excerpts and links are expressly permitted (and encouraged.)
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