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WiMAX Gets 90-Day Stay of Execution

Before WiMAX was able to hit its stride, new technologies appeared, making it obsolete

LOS ANGELES�Ten years ago, I was working in Seattle, and I recall how interested I was in the potential of WiMAX. The companyClearwirewas founded by the McCaw family, well-known in Seattle, and it appeared that the new company was bound to be a success. Who wouldn�t want wireless Internet access, at (what seemed at the time) blazing speed?

As in so many other cases, though, technology continues to evolve, and before WiMAX was able to hit its stride, new technologies appeared, making it obsolete. Sprint gained control of Clearwire in 2013, along with its spectrum, and is now turning its WiMAX facilities off, so that it can re-allocate the spectrum for LTE.�

Sprint has run in to some headwinds in the process. From a recent article

�…Mobile CitizenandMobile Beaconhave licenses to Educational Broadband Service spectrum, which they leased to Clearwire for 30 years in exchange for payments and use of the network.

�Mobile Citizen and Mobile Beacon say that Sprint is required to provide unlimited data, but instead the company plans to throttle customers after they use 6GB in a month, bringing speeds down from 6Mbps to 256kbps.�

The nonprofits sued Sprint over the shutdown issue. Last week, a Massachusetts Superior Court judge granted�an�emergency motion for a preliminary injunction, saying that�the “plaintiffs have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits.”

�Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen, which�supply schools, libraries, and nonprofits with wireless Internet over the WiMAX network, said�that �the emergency relief orders Sprint to maintain the WiMAX network in certain areas for 90 days to allow Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen time to migrate their users to Sprint’s LTE network,� according to the same article.

So, WiMAX, developed and marketed with much fanfare, lasted only about 10 years, and will soon occupy a spot in the big technology dumpster. �