In its filing to the FCC oh-so-politely asking for the okay to merge Sprint's and Clearwire's spectrum assets into the WiMax monolith New Clearwire (helpfully poked through by Ars), they make a lot of groovy promises to stoke the FCC's approval stamp into action. Like it'll be totally open: "New Clearwire will permit consumers to use any lawful device that they want so long as it is compatible" and you can "download and use any software applications, content, or services" as long they're not illegal or mucking up the network. And they're promising to cover 140 million people in the US in 30 months with claims of sustained speeds of 6Mbps downlink, 3Mbps up. Why's this cool?
As Ars points out, it seems to be the "third pipe" many hoped that the 700MHz auction would deliver (before Verizon snapped up the open access C block)—that is a third, totally open broadband alternative to cable and DSL that would provide some competition and shake up the established players.
New Clearwire's WiMax network will also be available for "non-exclusive" wholesale, meaning anyone can buy resell Clearwire's WiMax services under their own brand—basically as an MVNO—which Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks have already signed up for, with the cable companies interested in offering quadruple play services (cable, internet, phone, wireless internet). Course, all this still depends on WiMax getting off the ground and then not getting trounced by LTE. [Ars]