"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.