Wireless NET Covers Downtown Seattle
A high-speed wireless network that covers most of downtown Seattle is being rolled out by Internet service provider Speakeasy. The Seattle company plans to have 10 to 15 test customers using the network by the end of the year, with Speakeasy CEO Bruce Chatterley saying commercial deployment of the WiMax network will occur early next year. “This is the equivalent of putting in a T-1 line, but it is wireless,” said Chatterley. “It is going to change everything.”
The company chose Seattle as its first test market, citing the geographic challenges along with the demand for high-speed Internet in the downtown area. Speakeasy will roll out similar WiMax networks in other cities if the test in Seattle is successful, Chatterley said.
WiMax, which is short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a relatively new technology that provides wireless Internet access over great distances. Unlike Wi-Fi, which is typically confined to a couple of hundred feet in coffee shops or bookstores, WiMax networks have a range of several miles.
Pricing has not been finalized, but the company is considering charging about $650 per month for a wireless connection that reaches speeds of three megabits per second. That compares to $530 per month for a T-1 line, which is 1.5 megabits per second. A T-1 line is about 30 times faster than a dial-up modem.