Clearwire is getting a cautious coverage in the press. Nobody is singing their praises, but nobody really wants to bet wrong on McCaw either. But whether Craig wins or loses is pretty irrelevant to me. What it does mean is that the era of ultrafast wireless is starting. Craig is betting that it is a market already waiting for a solution, but even if he is early, he’s not early by much. Wireless broadband is going to be huge.
Whether it’s a big centralized technology like WiMax or a Wi-Fi type network that is meshed and decentralized, wireless broadband is how the vast majority of consumers will access the Internet in 15-20 years (maybe even 10 as Clearwire is probably betting). It’s just cheaper to upgrade the network and keep pace with exponential growth of the underlying technologies.
And if the primary information devices are going to look like the iPhone or some derivative, wireless is foundational. I think Clearwire will probably not be a huge success, but even its failure will attract enough investment that someone will get it right. Whomever wins in this market is going to win very big.