The WiMax alternative

Om Malik has the skinny on a comprehensive OECD report about WiMax, a promising wireless data technology that has been promoted as “WiFi on steroids.” It’s not — though it’s a powerful backhaul option for alternative broadband networks, with WiFi meshes at the edge. The cost of building such a network across the US, according to In-Stat, is about $3 billion. That’s not chump change, but it’s within the reach of, say, Google, not to mention some of those telecom private equity funds sitting on huge piles of cash. And the number is bound to fall as equipment costs decline.