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Is the Future of the Internet Wireless?

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Is the future of the Internet wireless? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Wireless networks are being used in more and more homes and offices…but those wireless access points are connected to wired broadband connections such as T-1, cable or DSL lines. But new technology called WiMax may change that. It can deliver even better broadband connections… wirelessly over a range as wide as 30 miles. Even before the standard is finalized, TowerStream is one of the companies offering the service to some businesses in a handful of cities. Co-founder and President Jeff Thompson…

"It typically replaces T-1s or DSL or cable access. WiMax replaces the last mile very similar to how WiFi replaces the last few feet at your home or at your business."

Intel, Fujitsu, Nextel and Verizon are among the companies betting that WiMax will have a big future. TowerStream is already providing wireless broadband to 600 businesses in Boston, Chicago, and Providence and recently started serving its first 80 customers in New York City. How big might it get?

"Well we're in four cities now, we hope to be in a lot more. And I think the technology is mature. It's more reliable and it's the best way to deliver Internet access. So I think as word gets out, people will be very excited about this and start deploying it rapidly."

Thompson says residential service is a couple of years away…with Intel building WiMax capability into notebook PCs…and PDAs.