Google backs US Continental WiMax Consortium

Google has joined a crack team of technology companies who want to blanket cover the United States with a nationwide wireless network based on WiMax technology.

The consortium, worth $14.5 billion, includes Bright House Networks, Sprint Nextel, Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner and Clearwire and is expected to deliver internet to mobile devices by 2010, reaching up to 40 million people.

Users can expect to experience broadband speeds that will rival what cable customers currently pay for.

The so-called fourth generation network will be partly owned by Sprint Nextel (51 percent) while the rest will be held by the other five and will provide with most of the backbone infrastructure and logistics.

Some observers have already voiced their scepticism at the whole concept of a WiMax business; Eric Schonfeld of TechCrunch went as far as saying that this is a disaster waiting to happen as Clearwire an Sprint try to recoup the billions that they've already invested in WiMax.

Wimax technology itself is facing an uncertain future with the emergence of a new competitor, Long Term Evolution - with the potential of much higher transfer speeds - and some WiMax operators openly criticising the technology for performing poorly.

Google and Intel join Sprint to create 4G network - PC Pro
A Technology Consortium Plans a Wireless Network - NY Times
$3.2 Billion WiMax Deal Goes Through. Take Cover. - Techcrunch
Sprint Nextel, Clearwire form WiMax group with Google, others - AFP