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Talkin' Backhaul Blues

5:35 PM -- There've been plenty of interesting reactions to my 4G backhaul story yesterday. (See 4G Backhaul: A Problem for All?) This piece by Brandon Wirtz on his Taking the Bridge blog is my favorite, however.

Wirtz writes on the advantage that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless have over Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) when it comes to deploying high-speed broadband wireless: They have more time and more fiber, as I laid out in the story.

Wirtz, however, really highlights something I was only able to scratch the surface of in my article. How 4G deployments could actually deepen the digital divide:

As the TCP convergence happens, you are going to see that guy with the fattest pipe in the most places will win. The thing that worries me is the digital divide between people who live in wired neighborhoods and those who don’t. Soon the economic and educational divide will widen between those who live in places that have the infrastructure and those who don’t.

It is funny, if you remember back a few years, supporters were claiming that one of the benefits of WiMax was that it would help to unwire places where cable cos. couldn't -- or wouldn't -- reach. Just another fat-pipe dream!

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

kaps 12/5/2012 | 3:41:40 PM
re: Talkin' Backhaul Blues Wondering if the "digital divide" argument makes sense when you consider that to support rural user bases, you probably don't need a huge amount of backhaul because of fewer potential customers.

Clearwire and others seem to be doing OK bringing early-days WiMax to rural areas for this reason -- cheaper fiber, no competition, etc. DigitalBridge is another that sees WiMax as a cheaper last-mile alternative in rural areas where it can get spectrum and a good fiber deal.
kaps 12/5/2012 | 3:41:40 PM
re: Talkin' Backhaul Blues Wondering if the "digital divide" argument makes sense when you consider that to support rural user bases, you probably don't need a huge amount of backhaul because of fewer potential customers.

Clearwire and others seem to be doing OK bringing early-days WiMax to rural areas for this reason -- cheaper fiber, no competition, etc. DigitalBridge is another that sees WiMax as a cheaper last-mile alternative in rural areas where it can get spectrum and a good fiber deal.
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