Wimax to cover the world!

Posted: September 15, 2006 in Uncategorized

I picked up this gem on one of the multitude of mailinglists that I subscribe to. Apparently the Wimax forum commissioned a report on bridging the digital divide:

Wimax Forum Boast they can cover the earth for $2.6 trillion!
Author: Digital Divide, Independent | September 13th, 2006
Communities: ICT FOR THE LESS PRIVILEGED

the WSIS to encourage partnerships to bridge the digital divide. The
objective is to bring access ICTs to the people worldwide whom making a
simple telephone call remains out of reach, keeping in mind that at
present ITU estimates that around 800,000 villages, or 30% of all
villages worldwide, are still without any kind of connection.
(http://tinyurl.com/f5rbd – pg 4.)

Drawing on the content of this report the poster on the ISP-Wireless mailing list makes the following comments:

Let’s look at this pragmatically:

The surface area of the seven continents and all the islands of the
world is about 57,000,000 miles, while the total area of the six
habitable continents (Antarctica excluded) is around 52,000,000 square
miles.

A WiMAX tower, similar in concept to a cell-phone tower – A single WiMAX
tower can provide coverage to a very large area — as big as 3,000
square miles … (http://computer.howstuffworks.com/wimax1.htm) .
Jupiter Research Estimates Municipal Wireless Projects Cost $150,000 Per
Square Mile (http://tinyurl.com/l4pps – July 2005)

Lets use the “1/3rd” figure and roughly say that the digitally unserved
live on “1/3” of the earth’s surface. It may/may not be accurate … but
it should be reasonable for illustrative purposes.

so:
52,000,000 sqm / 3 = 17,333,333 sqm x $150,000 per sqm =
$2,600,000,000,000. 2.6 TRILLION DOLLARS!! Ok, reduce the price down for
the economy of scale of the project & time past since july 2005 … but
come on … re-read the top line figure again slowly. 2.6 TRILLION DOLLARS.

Sounds good?!

That WAS good news:

The bad news:

The subscription/retail cost for people who want to use it to ensure
that the owners of the $2.6T investors to get their investment back.
Deployment is not instant – let’s say over the next 5 years. Venture
capitalist want their monye back ASAP – not in 10 years. Technology
moves way too fast.

The really bad news?

Reality check: The potential subscribers probably live on less than $2 a
day. The Juniper Research says month fees would need to be at least $25
per month to breakeven in 5 years.

Fact: Just because the village is now wimax covered, they STILL can’t
afford the monthly fee, nor the modem, nor the computer. Would you risk
the $2.6T in your bank account for such a noble cause?

WIMAX – nice try. Noble attempt. Good intentions. But you fail miserably
– and you of all people should know that you are duping the world into
thinking that WIMAX is a global solution.

Stop your complacency. We’re no where near bridging the digital chasm.

http://www.digitaldivide.net/articles/view.php?ArticleID=673

I love these postings that cut straight through all the bullshit and hype created. Wimax is a very good technlogy but as with all other technologies that have gone before it it has it place and it has it’s limitations. Only the companies that realise these will survive and be profitable in the long run…

E.

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