Covad Pre-WiMax in SF Soon

Covad, which makes a living wholesaling DSL connections to the likes of MCI, Speakeasy and Earthlink is likely to deliver on its long-promised (pre-WiMax) fixed wireless network later this week, sources say. Covad is expected to announce that it is going after three markets – San Francisco Bay Area, Las Vegas and Los Angeles – sometime this week.

The service is likely to be a wireless T-1 scale offering, something that is already available from TowerStream and NextWeb in a few of those markets. Google’s plans for Free WiFi, Covad, Tower Stream, Sprint and Verizon EVDO, and a choppy Cingular UMTS – – SF Bay Area has a lot of broadband wireless options. Now if somehow the fixed wireless services could be delivered to consumers and not businesses at an affordable price, things could get interesting. It also makes me wonder if there are issues with delivering the fixed wireless service to a large number of consumers.

I find that even wireless T-1 connections being offered by TowerStream and NextWeb are simply too expensive: $500 a month, when you can get cheaper deals from their wired brethren. I think this market needs some competition. Covad has been conducting trials for almost a year, and it was at last Web 2.0 conference Covad folks gave me a low down of their fixed wireless plans. Earlier there was word that company was going to launch this service in first quarter of 2006.

Light Reading says that Covad was testing “pre-WiMax” OFDM products since the fall of 2004 using four 5.8GHz base stations in San Jose and Oakland, Calif. It had been able to squeeze 5 megabit/second speeds on their network, the article adds.

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