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Wireless Broadband at a Crossroads

Hey there, Broadbanders!

Much of the news this week reiterates something we've been feeling at Unstrung for a while: Wireless broadband services – particularly citywide WiFi mesh and WiMax networks – are at a real crossroads in terms of deployments and early services.

There are still plenty of big contracts and trials going on, and the latest 3G networks are coming online, particularly in Europe. But vendors, carriers, and even local governments are going to have to start thinking long and hard about how to consistently provide good network performance, customer service, and decent prices to ensure that users actually buy into broadband.

Some vendors have already started to try and address indoor coverage issues with mesh networks. All the vendors and service providers involved in muni networks need to think along these lines.(See The Evolution of the Access Point.)

So, here's what happening at the crossroads:

San Fran: Now wait for WiFi
The municipal mesh project seems to be on hold again.

Slow times in Italy
Just why is Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)'s 3G HSDPA network slowing down in Italy?

Dallas gets meshed
BelAir Networks Inc. has won a contract to unwire the 75-acre Victory Park Development in downtown Dallas. The wireless deployment is part of a $3 billion urban development project there.

WiMax whispers
China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU) may be testing up to 21 WiMax sites on the mainland.

Ma Bell's broadband
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) also is looking at the FCC's wireless broadband auctions.

Laters... — The Staff, Unstrung

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