Friday, February 12, 2010

Comcast to offer wireless broadband in Nashville area

Although Comcast won't say when, the cable TV and broadband company intends to offer wireless broadband service soon in the Nashville area, probably about the same time the Comcast name changes to Xfinity on all of its consumer services.
The company has rolled out the new wireless Internet service in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle and Portland, Ore., which provides customers with either home or mobile broadband service over the 4G Wi-Max system operated by Clearwire Corp.

The Xfinity name will go on Comcast's products and trucks in several areas, including Chattanooga, beginning today, but won't be seen in Nashville until later in the year, the company said.

The wireless broadband service comes over the air just like cellular-phone service, using in many cases the same towers that cellular providers use, said Chris Comes, spokesman for Kirkland, Wash.-based Clearwire.

RelatedWhat's in a name?

Clearwire began its "pre-Wi-Max" wireless broadband service in the Nashville area in 2008, with data speeds roughly equivalent to those of the cellular companies' third-generation, or "3G," data services.

But in areas where Comcast already offers new wireless broadband over Clearwire's system, the service uses Wi-Max, a technology that gives customers the same speeds as home Wi-Fi broadband connections, but over much wider areas.

Clearwire calls the service 4G, and it operates at speeds that are several times faster than current cellular 3G networks.

Sprint Nextel Corp., the cellular company that is majority owner of Clearwire, offers 4G data service to its cellular customers in the 27 markets that Clearwire has the high-speed service already in place, although not yet in Nashville.

When the 4G service is turned on here, Sprint will offer the same wireless broadband service as Clearwire and Comcast, all using the same system, Comes said.

He declined to say exactly when that would be, but in the meantime, Clearwire offers the slower service throughout much of the Nashville area, including Murfreesboro and Smyrna, which brings broadband service to customers without access to Comcast's wired Internet or other alternative services.

(2 of 3)

Nashville Business PeopleProperty Managers A ‘Value Add’ to Owners, Investors in the Real Estate Market