Time Warner announced on October 14th, 2009 that they will begin offering 4G mobile wireless internet services in the Charlotte area, they have apparently teamed up/invested in the Sprint/Clearwire network, as well as developed part of their own wireless network build-out. The service is targeted at mobile urban users that will be accessing the network with a variety of devices such as iPods, Netbooks, and Laptops.
The idea of the network is to naturally extend the homeowner services currently being provided by Timer Warner seamlessly into the mobile market, while still providing the well established quality of service that Time Warner has worked so hard to maintain. I could see this wireless network deployment as an initial push for them to eventually be planning to provide a mobile triple-play style service.Â Even if that is several years away though, this deployment is giving their current fiber/coax network an immediate additional redundancy, as well as numerous additional bandwidth regeneration/backhaul points throughout the existing network.
The wireless internet service is said to be able to provide speeds up to 6mbit/s downloand bandwidth and part of a mbit of upload bandwidth, almost exactly comparable to the home cable modem service that they currently provide throughout this region. â€œThis is an important part of our strategy to give our customers any content, on any device, anytime, anywhere,â€ says Carol Hevey, executive vice president of the Carolina region for Time Warner Cable. The first product to launch is Road Runner Mobile, with a monthly charge between $40 and $80 for customers with at least one other Time Warner Cable service.
Comparably, Verizon recently launched the MiFi service on their 3G network in Charlotte, and of course we had to get one to try out! So far we’ve been really happy with the result. Though the bandwidth is a bit slower, 3mbit/s down when I did the last speed test in the university area of Charlotte. The technology of the MiFi is pretty neat as well, the connection is stable and the WiFi signal transmitted from the MiFi device is surprising strong.
Wireless technologies such as these are only going to become more and more prevalent in the immediate future, and as I predict, continue to be targeted only in the densely populated urban centers and major metropolitan areas for at least the next 5 years. Though I must admit that being able to provide guaranteed 6mbit mobile wireless internet services in the Charlotte market is quite impressive. Making a service like this truly affordable is going to be the key, it’s likely not going to be much cheaper until a massive amount of investment is put into additional nationwide infrastructure though. When I get the opportunity to try this wireless service out, I’ll be sure to get an update posted on here for all of you.