This series is commissioned by Intel 4G WiMAX.
Photo: Business WiMax
Bright green bubbles, depicting Clearwire’s WiMax wireless coverage areas, have been flaring up around the country since the end of 2008—when the company launched its pilot program of the Internet service (then under Sprint Xohm) in Baltimore.It’s all part of Clearwire’s plan to blanket 80 markets and 120 million people by the end of 2010. So far, the company provides high-speed wireless to 74 markets in the U.S., according to its Web site, including recent expansions to New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, which are scheduled for a full roll out at years-end.
While 4G Internet is still far-off from rivaling 3G network coverage, here’s a list of U.S. cities (and a few islands) that already provide some of the best WiMax service in the country.
In October 2008, Sprint Xohm (which merged with Clearwire’s 4G network shortly after and was rebranded as “Clear”) launched its first 4G wireless WiMax service in Baltimore. Since then, Baltimore has been the East Coast’s pioneer city in WiMax coverage. In June 2010, Clearwire announced that its high-speed wireless coverage of Baltimore had been expanded to reach a total of 725 square miles.
In early January 2009, Portland, Ore. became the second U.S. city to receive Clearwire WiMax coverage. The wireless broadband service initially blanketed about 700 square miles, serving approximately 1.7 million people.
On March 29, 2009, Clearwire announced the launch of its 28th market, offering 4G WiMax service in Houston with coverage to more than 4 million people over a span of 1,900 square miles.
In June 2009, Clearwire launched its largest WiMax coverage area to that date—almost 1,200 square miles—in Georgia’s capitol city.
Clearwire soft-launched Clear WiMax service in the Philadelphia metro area at the end of the October 2009, which eventually covered 1,000 square miles and approximately 3.6 million people. It was a particular accomplishment for the company since it was the first high-speed, wide-area wireless network to reach the northeast corner of the U.S.
Sin City hit the jackpot in fast Internet service during the summer of 2009. The WiMax network extended across 638 square miles in the greater Las Vegas area, serving about 1.7 million residents.
At the end of 2009, Chi-Town surpassed Atlanta as the biggest of the new Clearwire markets, covering 1,700 square miles and approximately 6.6 million people.
Seattle residents received a holiday gift in the form of 4G service around the same time as the Chicago launch. The Clear network covers more than 1,300 square miles and approximately 3.1 million people.
Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh
In North Carolina, the network now covers more than 2,000 square miles and nearly 3 million people.
Hawaii (Oahu, Maui, and Lanai)
If sun, beach, and breathtaking views aren’t already enough good reasons to move here—Hawaii’s now got WiMax service. Clearwire’s Hawaii network became available at the beginning of 2010; it covers 800,000 of the 1.2 million people in the state and more than 1,759 square miles on three islands.