Uncommon Wisdom

Nov 20 2007   6:50PM GMT

Earthlink shuts down WiFi effort

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Earthlink has decided to shut down its efforts to create a series of municipal WiFi networks to bolster its sagging ISP business. The decision was inevitable in our view, because as we have noted often there is no way that fixed wireless technology can support consumer broadband requirements that are becoming increasingly biased toward high-duty-cycle content delivery. Portable applications are the only way that this type of network could be made profitable, and Earthlink and the vendors supporting its efforts have failed to make that point to the marketplace. We have heard that the issue of “portability versus wireline competition” was at the heart of the Clearwire-Sprint WiMAX breakup; the former was satisfied to continue its positioning of WiMAX as a supplement to wireline but Sprint wanted a more wireline-competitive position, which the technology cannot support

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