WiMAX helps to close digital divide in US

WiMAX related proposals accounted for one quarter of the applications for broadband stimulus funds in the US, to be made available by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture.

According to the WiMAX Forum, WiMAX-related applicants applied for $1.6bn of the $14.212bn requested by the 1,130 total applicants for last mile deployments.

The Forum claims this turnout shows the strong potential for WiMAX to bridge the digital divide in the US “at a significantly lower cost than traditional wireline deployments”.

“WiMAX can be deployed over wide areas to serve thousands of consumers cheaper and faster than traditional wireline services,” said Ron Resnick, president and chairman of the WiMAX Forum. “For every dollar spent on a new network, a WiMAX operator can cover 10 to 20 times the number of homes and businesses with WiMAX service than they can cover with wireline. These savings are passed along to the customer, who spends only $25-35 a month on a WiMAX connection with comparable speed to a $50-60 cable or wireline connection.”

The need for capital to bring broadband to rural America is an expensive but necessary undertaking, as about 12 per cent of US households have no access to broadband service. More than $4bn has been set aside for the first round of stimulus grants, with $7.2bn in total funds available.

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