Feature Article

September 01, 2009

4GWE Keynote: Broadband Stimulus Offers Opportunities, Challenges for Wireless

The evening keynote session of the 4GWE conference at ITEXPO West covered some of the key issues facing the evolution to a 4G, all IP, wireless network, and specifically the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for wireless companies who seek to take advantage of the broadband stimulus program.
Keynote speaker Jeffrey Thompson, CEO and director of Towerstream, explained the differences between unserved and underserved communities – key differentiators of rural areas by the federal government – as he addressed a crowd of carriers and wireless industry professionals on the applications, technology alternatives, timeframes, opportunities and challenges in the new age of mobile broadband.
The definition for broadband under the notice of funds availability document that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service issued back in July relative to the first round of broadband stimulus funds defines broadband as a service providing two-way data transmission with advertised speeds of at least 768 kbps downstream and at least 200 kbps upstream to end users, and sufficient capacity in the middle mile to support the provision of said services.
The federal government said last week it had received requests for a total of $28 billion from groups that want to expand high-speed Internet service in the U.S. The government has $4 billion in loans and grants initially available. The 2,200 requests came from states, counties, Indian tribes, nonprofits, phone companies, libraries, universities and service providers, including Towersteam.
The bulk of the requests — worth $23.2 billion — are to build out Internet lines. The NTIA and RUS will pick the winning applicants and announce them in November.
“People have to be reasonable about this,” Thompson noted when the audience Q and A turned somewhat political. “They are going to rank stack file [the applications]. Originally there was not going to be as much people lobbying for this to their local government,” however the changes in broadband definitions have created a stir for applicants who are now seeking backing from the state level, Thompson said.
Towerstream delivers high-speed, Internet access seamlessly and securely without the telephone or cable company to businesses in nine major metropolitan markets delivering symmetrical bandwidth using WiMax technology. With bandwidth options ranging anywhere between 0.512Mbps and 1Gbps Towerstream can create customized broadband solutions to meet business's needs.
Thompson noted that wireless is less expensive to deploy than wireline and is cheaper to maintain and repair and that so-called “future proofed” networks allow for new application with mobility and portability in mind. He also explained that wireless offers a faster roll-out than wire line and networks are faster with 4G.
The 4GWE Conference continues on Wednesday and Thursday during ITEXPO West at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Learn more during the 4GWE Conference at ITEXPO West — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year. ITEXPO West will take place in Los Angeles, Sept. 1 to 3, 2009, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss. Don’t wait. Register now.

Follow ITEXPO on Twitter: twitter.com/itexpo

Erin Harrison is a Senior Editor with TMC. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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