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Clearwire Goes Live With WiMax In Atlanta

Clearwire Communications on Tuesday officially launched WiMax wireless broadband service in Atlanta, its biggest market to date covering 1,200 square miles and offering service to about 3 million people.

The company -- whose backers include Comcast and Time Warner Cable -- plans to launch WiMax service in 80 markets reaching up to 120 million people by the end of 2010.

Currently, Clearwire's mobile WiMax is available in Baltimore and Portland, Ore., with a launch slated for Las Vegas later this summer.

In Atlanta, Clearwire has deployed more than 400 cell sites equipped with Motorola's WiMax access point products and is offering the vendor's WiMax modems with the service. Clearwire also uses Motorola gear in Baltimore.

Clearwire claimed WiMax customers can see download speeds of 4 to 6 Mbps with bursts exceeding 15 Mbps. "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," Marc Brachman, general manager of Clearwire Atlanta, said in a statement.

The WiMax service, branded Clear, starts at $20 per month for residential service and $40 per month for mobile Internet plans. Clearwire offers a one-day day pass for $10.

The Motorola USB-based WiMax modem may be purchased for $59.99 or leased for $4.99 per month, while the Motorola CPEi 150 residential modem can be purchased for $79.99 or leased for $4.99 monthly. Residential customers can also add in-home voice service with purchase of the Clear Voice Adapter for $15, and receive unlimited local and long distance service for $24.99 per month.

Clearwire merged its operations with Sprint Nextel's 4G business last fall and has received a $3.2 billion investment from Intel, Comcast, Sprint, Google, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

Some of the additional markets Clearwire plans to launch WiMax in 2009 include Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia, and Seattle, while those scheduled for 2010 include New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Houston and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Clearwire also provides pre-WiMax services in 50 markets across the U.S. and Europe; 46 of those markets use Motorola devices and infrastructure.