Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wireless can pencil out where wireline fails, Rescue resident says

Rescue resident Tim McFadden doesn’t foresee any wireline based deployment of broadband penciling out for AT&T in much of El Dorado County. The future according to McFadden, president of a company called Comsites that provides real estate services to cellular phone companies, is wireless. The simple reason, he explains, is that it’s far less costly to deploy. He points to wireless providers like Sprint and Verizon which he says are offering a “double play” of voice and data at speeds approaching 400 Kbps. McFadden also notes Craig McCaw's Clearwire is moving into the Sacramento market could be in the eastern portion of the El Dorado County before long.

While McFadden is likely correct that terrestrial wireless systems are cheaper to build out than wireline-based systems, such deployments are very technologically challenging in El Dorado County’s topography featuring high ridges, deep canyons and tall trees. That fact has made it difficult for cellular phone service providers to offer reliable service in parts of the county. That’s likely why wireless broadband players have concentrated on the low hanging fruit in the less hilly and vegetated terrain of Folsom and El Dorado Hills.

In addition, if wireless is to be a viable broadband alternative in El Dorado County or anywhere else, it will have to offer higher connection speed. While 400kbs may be considered adequate for some users of portable devices, it barely qualifies as a broadband connection.

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