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Intel, Clearwire Doing The WiMAX Thing

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Intel and Clearwire, Craig McCaw’s wireless broadband services company, announced they will jointly develop and deploy wireless broadband capabilities using WiMAX networks.

As part of the collaboration, Clearwire intends to deploy WiMAX networks using wireless broadband equipment from NextNet Wireless (a Clearwire subsidiary) that includes future Intel silicon products. The joint development agreement with Clearwire is for future products supporting the upcoming IEEE 802.16e standard for WiMAX solutions found in both infrastructure equipment and notebooks. WiMAX is an emerging wireless standard that promises to provide high-speed broadband connectivity in both fixed and mobile wireless networks.

The agreement also involves a significant investment in Clearwire from Intel Capital, Intel’s strategic investment program. The investment is part of Intel Capital’s strategy to invest $150 million in wireless technology to help accelerate adoption of high-speed wireless networks worldwide. Specific financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

“WiMAX technology has spawned a global community that continues to gain momentum, and we as an industry have achieved some important milestones this past year,” said Sean Maloney, Intel executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Communications Group. “Today’s announcement is particularly important. Carriers, equipment makers and solution providers around the world are moving quickly to lay the foundation for building this new global network.

“Craig and his team have helped shape the communications industry over the past two decades. Their vision, energy and leadership will help us achieve the promise that WiMAX technology offers: widely available, high-speed wireless connectivity using extremely high volume low-cost technology based on open standards.”

“Today’s announcement marks the beginning of an important relationship to accelerate the delivery of broadband services to people across the world,” said Clearwire Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Craig O. McCaw. “Intel is a leader in the development of WiMAX technologies. And while we have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us, we are encouraged by our early market deployments — both at Clearwire and with our friends at NextNet. We are seeing a positive response to the enormous benefits that wireless technology provides in giving people the power that comes from access to information.”

The collaboration with Clearwire is the next step in Intel’s continued development of WiMAX technology beyond “Rosedale,” its upcoming wireless broadband chip for WiMAX* products based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard (previously known as IEEE 802.16REVd). Rosedale is Intel’s first “system-on-a-chip” solution for cost-effective customer premise equipment (CPE) supporting that early standard.

In addition, in August, Clearwire launched its first broadband wireless network in Jacksonville, FL. The network, using NextNet technology, is a precursor to upcoming WiMAX networks and uses technologies very similar to WiMAX and offers comparable features that are expected to be available in a full-scale WiMAX network. It provides high-speed broadband wireless service throughout most of the greater Jacksonville area. Customers of the Clearwire network in Jacksonville simply connect their computer to a NextNet modem with an Ethernet cable, power it up and receive Internet access anywhere within the Clearwire coverage area. No software installation or system configuration is required.

Since last summer, Intel, Clearwire and NextNet engineers have been working together to develop, test and deploy WiMAX base stations and customer premise equipment designed and built by NextNet based on Intel silicon, making NextNet among the first vendors capable of delivering WiMAX infrastructure.

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Intel, Clearwire Doing The WiMAX Thing
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