Ed Whitacre Loves His WiMAX

Ed Whitacre, AT&T’s Chairman and CEO, stopped by a conference for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners in downtown San Francisco this morning, and gave a speech with some harsh words about the Net Neutrality issue.

There are reports that a vote on a Net Neutrality in the Senate will come much sooner than expected. King Ed during his speech said, “Some companies want us to be a big dumb pipe that gets bigger and bigger. . . .No one gets a free ride. The American economy doesn’t work that way. . . We are not going to build this with no chance for a return. Those that want to use this will pay.”

The remarks re-emphasized his position on the controversial issue, at a conference for state regulators of public utilites. AT&T needs friends in the NARUC given it’s rolling out new services like IPTV that need help from local regulators. The company is also trialling new services like WiMAX in an attempt to offer alternative wireless broadband in addition to high speed cellular.

While AT&T’s WiMAX service is not publicly available, one tester already has a review: Ed Whitacre, and he gives it an enthusiatic thumbs up. He told GigaOM.com after the speech that he uses the service at his home in Texas and gets 5.5 Mbps downstream over unlicensed spectrum. “It’s not ready for primetime, but I really like it,” he said.

Okay, that really explains why Ma Bell is pushing hard on WiMAX and other forms of wireless broadband.

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