Intel Wants Nationwide WiMAX To Top President Obama's Tech Initiatives By Tom Foremski - January 8, 2009
Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, wants affordable high speed wireless broadband to top US technology initiatives, said Craig Barrett, Intel chairman at a meeting at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Intel has made significant investments in WiMAX technology, a wireless high-speed broadband technology that can potentially provide inexpensive Internet access to consumers and businesses over large distances without the need for local wifi antennas.
WiMAX will become integrated into future Intel chipsets in the same way that WiFi technology has become a standard part of its desktop and notebook products. However, there needs to be a substantial WiMAX infrastructure to take advantage of the WiMAX chipsets.
Mr Barrett has provided advice to President Bush on technology initiatives, and he and other industry executives are likely to do the same for President-elect Barack Obama administration, and whoever is appointed to a newly created position of US "Chief Technology Officer (CTO)."
Intel is conducting a survey at CES to gauge support for WiMAX, and other technology initiatives, among US voters. The survey questions include:
How would you rank the following - with 1 being the most important and 3 being the least important - for the Obama Administration’s CTO regarding technology and broadband/Internet?
- Provide incentives to citizens to make fast, affordable, high-quality broadband deployment a reality for all Americans.
- Focus on federal initiatives that expedite the roll-out of wireless broadband technologies across entire cities.
- Advocate open spectrum policies that enable mobile carriers and manufacturers to make market-driven agreements to deploy next-generation wireless broadband technologies like WiMAX.
Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner will include the survey results in a letter he is planning to send to President Obama's CTO.
WiMAX could help make Internet access more affordable to larger numbers of people and help bridge a digital divide. It would also help spur sales of computers and servers for Intel, as well as for many other tech companies involved in building a national WiMAX infrastructure.
High-speed wireless Internet would also make it possible for many smaller companies to offer new types of services that require fast connections and help the US catch up with countries that already have a well developed infrastructure of high speed broadband.
(Intel is a sponsor of SVW)
President elect Barack Obama and his advisors have proposed a stimulus package to boost an ailing economy that would invest in infrastructure projects. These would include new bridges, repairing roads, sewer systems, etc. It would make excellent sense to also invest in building a 21st century digital infrastructure.
In the same way that the US economy was helped by the building of a nationwide road and rail network, similar benefits can be realized from a nationwide high-speed digital network.
The US has fallen far behind other countries in terms of broadband speeds and availability. In Greece and Estonia, Internet access has been designated a basic human right and the government has a responsibility to ensure all its citizens have access to this resource.
Intel is like a WiMAX hammer and everything they see is a nail.
Broadband for all American's is a desirable goal but the issues are more complex than just throwing Intel's homegrown flavor of wireless at the problem.
Cable companies and telco's can already reach roughly 90% of households with broadband already so the issue for Americans without broadband is affordability, not availability of service.
For very remote areas of the country satellite Internet can reach users efficiently and wireless has a role to play also. But the type of wireless most able to reach the long distances of rural areas is fixed access with outdoor antennas. Instead Intel is focused on mobile broadband and HDTV demos to tech junkies driving 60mph in their cars.
Intel needs to understand there's no national mandate for providing taxpayer subsidized mobile YouTube and there efforts to hype WiMAX in Washington is nothing more than a plea for a federal bailout for their hemorraghing investment in CLWR.
The problem is that Intel lost its intellectual integrity in the broadband debate. That wasn't always the case for Intel but when they pumped $2 billion in cash into CLWR - $1.2 billion just written down in impairment charges, objectivity became a casualty.
Intel is saavy enoug to know that that cable & telco's can already serve more than 90% of the U.S. households. No new infrastructure is needed. The feds can solve this problem with the stroke of a pen.
And UHF White Space spectrum is better suited to serve the sparsely populated populations of rural markets, and certainly more efficiently than a CLWR style network operating above 2Ghz. And satellite is an option for the most remote.
So where in the Intel CTO's suggestions does he encourage the Obama administration to implement the efficient and prudent solution, instead of pumping the "me first", "CLWR-WiMAX everywhere" bailout like every other company headed to Washington looking for a taxpayer handout.
"Intel needs to understand there's no national mandate for providing taxpayer subsidized mobile YouTube and there efforts to hype WiMAX in Washington is nothing more than a plea for a federal bailout for their hemorraghing investment in CLWR. "
I don't think that's true, Sanddollar. I think the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was to provide the telcos money to expand their infra structure. I believe it was a $200 billion expenditure.