Clearwire issued a “going concern” notice in it latest FCC filing as required by law. The company is drastically cutting back on staff, delaying pending roll outs and shelving its intended 4G handset deploy. It could be grim –
Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) — Clearwire Corp., the company building out a high-speed WiMax wireless network, fell in Nasdaq Stock Market trading after disclosing that it may not have enough funding to keep operating its business.
“Our expected continued losses from operations and the uncertainty about our ability to obtain sufficient additional capital raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern,” Clearwire said yesterday in a filing.
Clearwire is cutting 15 percent of its workforce, reducing sales and marketing spending and delaying its Clear-branded smartphone as part of a plan to save between $100 million and $200 million this year. The Kirkland, Washington-based company has 4,200 employees, putting the cuts at about 630 jobs.
Does this mean that Clear is going under? Well no, but it clearly indicates that they are gravely wounded. Companies that issue such notices generally double their chances of going under. What is in Clear’s favor is that they have been in business long enough that their chances are better than 50/50 of making it out of the hole with some good containment strategies.
But lets say that Clear does go under? Well gee they may not be the only one. Sprint who is 50+% owner in Clear might just get tipped over themselves if that occurred. Which indicates to me that Clear will be given the tools to make the transition — its in Sprints interest to not be caught in the wake of such a closure.
But it brings up an even more interesting possibility. What about the network? Does Sprint take it over? Do third parties take it over at pennies to the dollar? Couple of interesting what ifs come to mind in that case.
We’ll keep our eyes on this one.
[disclosure: We were a former Clear provider and still a customer. ]
For Starbucks to open up their WiFi network for free to their customers? Their biggest competitor, Micky D’s, did this about 6 months ago. D’s is not totally open, but if all you want to do is surf, well then it is. But still, ‘Bucks usually moves faster than this —
Starting July 1st, Starbucks will finally begin to offer free and unrestricted Internet access over Wi-Fi in its stores. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz made this announced at Wired’s Disruptive by Design conference today. With this, Starbucks finally joins the ranks of neighborhood coffee stores all over the world that have long offered free and easy access to Wi-Fi. By Fall 2010, Starbucks also plans to give Internet users in its stores free access to paid sites, including the Wall Street Journal.
Until now, Starbucks customers were restricted to two hours of Wi-Fi access and needed to register for a Starbucks Card in order to access the Internet. Starbucks already offered free Wi-Fi access to AT&T customers.
Free Access to Paid Content
The free access to paid content sites, however, is the big news here. According to Starbucks, this new service, called the “Starbucks Digital Network,” will give users who surf the Internet from U.S. company owned stores access to “various paid sites and services such as wsj.com, exclusive content and previews, free downloads, local community news and activities, on their laptops, tablets or smart phones.” Besides the Wall Street Journal, Starbucks’ partners include Apple’s iTunes, The New York Times, Patch, USA TODAY, Yahoo and ZAGAT.
The free paid access sweeter I guess makes up for the delay?
…just wanted to share the joy. This week we successfully completed the first 802.11n long range link in the network. Its not very far (only 4KM) but it is very promising. 80 to almost 100Mbit TCP Traffic with 20MHz channels and ~150Mbit with 40MHz. Currently we are dealing with the redesign of our feeders and trying to find an optimal soft/hardware set. We are all really excited to see what AWMN V3 will bring to us. The first link has been routing traffic successfully at 80Mbit since the 11th of June 2009.
That’s right, 80-100Mbit data rates on N channel commercial hardware and open source software. Happening here in the USA? Nope. Athens, Greece. They just happen to have one of the largest Muni WiFi installations on the planet. Web Page here. (Brush up on your Greek)
The logic here by many in the Muni world here is that WiFi should be like a toll road and everybody pays. The reality is they should be treating it like a freeway and charge nothing. Why? Same reason as the freeways — access. A Muni should not look at WiFi as a revenue source but a revenue enabler.
The reason Muni’s support freeways is that the improved access increases business interest in relocating there. The Muni benefits indirectly by increase in revenue volume and revenue velocity by those who relocate businesses there. That gets reflected in the increased sales tax revenues.
The same can be said for Muni WiFi. The WiFi presence increases the sales velocity of product. Need a restraunt? Geolocate one using the Muni system. Pablos Mexican restraunt business improves he pays more to the city. Its the same game. Of course you can play the tiered game as well. Open free base service at a given base rate. Become a subscriber and your base rate is raised. The subscriptions going to pay for the electric bill.
That model with a few exceptions is being deployed everywhere else but here. Why?
In a world swimming in wireless transmissions, how does one operate without it? Cell phone, WiFi, 900mhz phone, the list is endless. So is the FCC, hence the government’s right, to abrogate the 4th Amendment –
That’s the upshot of the rules the agency has followed for years to monitor licensed television and radio stations, and to crack down on pirate radio broadcasters. And the commission maintains the same policy applies to any licensed or unlicensed radio-frequency device.
“Anything using RF energy — we have the right to inspect it to make sure it is not causing interference,” says FCC spokesman David Fiske. That includes devices like Wi-Fi routers that use unlicensed spectrum, Fiske says.
The FCC claims it derives its warrantless search power from the Communications Act of 1934, though the constitutionality of the claim has gone untested in the courts. That’s largely because the FCC had little to do with average citizens for most of the last 75 years, when home transmitters were largely reserved to ham-radio operators and CB-radio aficionados. But in 2009, nearly every household in the United States has multiple devices that use radio waves and fall under the FCC’s purview, making the commission’s claimed authority ripe for a court challenge.
“It is a major stretch beyond case law to assert that authority with respect to a private home, which is at the heart of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure,” says Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Lee Tien. “When it is a private home and when you are talking about an over-powered Wi-Fi antenna — the idea they could just go in is honestly quite bizarre.”
Alarmist? Well maybe. When you consider that the average consumer grade transmitter is running way less than a watt of RF output power, I don’t think you will be breaking the law nor the FCC being after you. The rule that the article points to was in place to go after large wattage stations and CB radios being upjacked to a 1000w linear amp.
But it is a tad troubling on the face. If a FCC guy came to the house asking. I probably would say come on in. I don’t have anything that does high watt RF transmission. But if they started acting like stormtroopers a call to my lawyer would be made long before they left.
In this week’s RCR ‘Analyst Angle’ Frank Dickson takes a look at the current handset war. He ticks off a litany of placement analysis on the current players. Much of which I agree with. So what is the point he misses? Well first lets put down the marker –
So what happens to mobile handset providers when the functional of the phone is defined by a third party, open OS? The nature of competition moves from features to cost. The result is that margins begin getting squeezed and competitive advantage is determined by those with the lowest cost manufacturing. As the market makes the transition to cost based competition, the process is never pleasant.
The battle for the platform is an enormous threat to the existing business models of the rest of the mobile community. New competitors battling for platform control do not need to worry directly about network infrastructure or compatibility impacts. Internet issues such as spam, viruses and person-to-person file sharing could have massive ramifications for existing mobile operators. The impact of offloading data traffic from 3G networks to Wi-Fi networks on mobile data revenues is of little concern to the new providers. The new breed of platform combatants seems to have a mobile manifest destiny, looking to capture not only platform control but also the service and content revenue.
” The nature of competition moves from features to cost.”. Well when has this never happened? Think of anything, computers, cars, steel, etc. The cost of the goods are continually being pushed downward by competition in the marketplace. The handset makers should be immune from this capitalist fact? I think not. Handset MFR’s have relied for too long on their cozy relationship with the carriers to bury some of the largess of the CPE in subscription contracts. ThirdPipe has for 2 years stated that such practices delay the shift and should stop.
Features to cost? Hmm. If anything the features that are being heaped on the smartphone component of the CPE market are growing not dwindling. The iPhone has its 10,000th app at the online iPhone store. Android is having similar success on their side as well. Such growth is spurred by an ecology that fosters third party software development. In that type of environment, the development growth INCREASES as the hardware costs dwindle. The other irony is features for whom? Up until it was dead certain that Android would make it to the marketplace, most of the CPE makers were only offering closed systems and their version of ‘black’ from the Henry Ford Industrial Arts Hall of Fame.
Which brings us back to Mr. Dickson’s list. In a world where a cellphone is as smart as you want it, has the power of a PIV chip and costs $75 what happens to that cast of characters? –
The FCC is holding a workshop for those interesting in getting their community up to speed on the Big I. Can’t happen soon enough for those sitting between the eastern rockies and the Mississippi river. –
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today provided additional information regarding the Rural Broadband workshop to be held in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 20, 2008.
The workshop will be held at the Mountain Preserve Reception Center, South Room, located at 1431 East Dunlap Avenue from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The workshop will be held free of charge; however, attendees will be responsible for providing their own transportation, lodging, and meals http://www.mprc.net/pages/home.html). Additional information via email will be sent to all registrants with the agenda as well as specific logistical information.
This workshop is designed to provide communities, organizations, and businesses in rural America seeking to bring the benefits of broadband to their communities with an opportunity to learn about the resources, programs, and policies of the FCC and USDA. The topics to be covered at the workshop include the following: different technology platforms used to provide
broadband services, USDA funding for broadband deployment, the Universal Service Fund, the FCC’s Rural Health Care Pilot program, and wireless spectrum access. The workshop will also provide communities and organizations with an opportunity to share their experiences about
broadband deployment in rural and hard-to-reach areas.
Another words just about everybody who is dissatisfied with their current carrier!