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Comcast Fires Up WiMax In Philly

Comcast launched a high-speed wireless data service in its hometown of Philadelphia, provided through a deal with Clearwire, which the operator is pushing in a bundle with its TV, phone and wired broadband products.

Philadelphia is the third market where Comcast has launched High-Speed 2go, after Atlanta and Portland, Ore. Clearwire, Comcast and Sprint are expecting to launch service in Chicago later this month and in the Seattle/Tacoma area in early December.

Comcast is selling the WiMax-based service, advertised as providing up to 6 Mbps downloads, in two different plans: High-Speed 2go Metro for WiMax-only access; and the High-Speed 2go Nationwide package, which includes a 4G/3G combo card from Franklin Wireless to provide 4G service in Clearwire's WiMax markets where it's available plus access to Sprint's national 3G network elsewhere.

Pricing starts at $30 extra for the High-Speed 2go mobile broadband for existing Comcast customers. Comcast's Fast Pack Metro bundle with 12-Mbps home broadband, a free
Wi-Fi router and 4G service is $49.99 per month; the Nationwide upgrade
is $69.99 per month.

Philadelphia is "one of the most technologically progressive cities on the East Coast. Having the first and only 4G service bundled with some of the nation's fastest Internet speeds is evidence to that fact," said Eric Schaefer, senior vice president of marketing for Comcast's Freedom region.

Sprint -- which also plans to offer WiMax service in Philadelphia -- owns 51% of Clearwire after combining its own 4G operations with Clearwire last year, and Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Intel and Google are also investors.

Separately, Time Warner Cable plans to launch Clearwire-provided service initially in North Carolina on Dec. 1, followed by Dallas and Hawaii.