Clearwire Officially Greenlights WiMax in Atlanta

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Although the rollout isn’t going as quickly as many would have hoped, Clearwire Communications has formally introduced 4G WiMax mobile broadband service to the Atlanta, Georgia area. Clearwire claims the service reaches about 3 million people over an area of about 1,200 square miles, making it the largest WiMAX service area in the United States.

The Atlanta WiMax network has been quietly operating in Atlanta for weeks, but consumers were not able to sign up for the service, which Clearwire offers under the name “Clear.” Clearwire previously rolled out WiMax services in Baltimore, Maryland, and Portland, Oregon.

“By delivering broadband connectivity to people, and not just places, we now offer Atlantans the freedom to enjoy super-fast Internet access wherever they go in our coverage area,” said Clearwire’s general manager for Atlanta Marc Brachman, in a statement. “We’re providing a valuable, new kind of Internet service designed to make our customers’ lives more enjoyable and more productive, wherever they happen to be in our coverage area.”

WiMax service offers mobile broadband capability with bandwidths comparable to traditional residential broadband connections; although not a lot of WiMax gear is currently available on the market, a growing number of vendors are adding WiMax products, along with WiMax options for things like netbooks and notebook computers. Clearwire offers daily and monthly service plays; home Internet service starts at $20 a month, while mobile service costs $40 a month. Day passes are $10.

Clearwire says it plans to cover as many as 120 million people in some 80 markets by the end of 2010; the next city that looks to be getting WiMax capability will probably be Las Vegas, which Clearwire hopes to light up this summer.