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Clearwire's Wireless Broadband Service Coming Online in Triangle

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Clearwire

, a fast-growing provider of wireless broadband Internet services, is now available in select areas of the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill metro areas.

The Kirkland, WA.-based company founded by wireless pioneer Craig McCaw has yet to list the Triangle as one of its service areas. However, Ivy League Internet, one of Clearwire's authorized resellers, is now offering accounts where coverage is available.

"We're in the pre-launch phase," said Marc Beauboeuf, who runs Ivy League Internet out of Daytona Beach, FL. Beauboeuf, who graduated from Harvard, was the market coordinator for Clearwire in Daytona Beach before leaving in May to launch his own company.

Ivy League is offering an introductory price of $2 for the first two months. The activation fee is also waived as an incentive for "early adopters", Beauboeuf said. The introductory offer will be dropped once Clearwire formally launches service in the Triangle, he added.

Standard prices begin at $29.99 per month.

Users utilizing wireless modems can connect to the network anywhere in Clearwire coverage zones. The connection is touted as "always on".

WiMax stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access and utilizes microwave transmission technology through licensed radio spectrum.

"It's WiMax in action, not just a pipedream," Beauboeuf said. Where service is available Beauboeuf said the network is "fully operational".

WiMax technology enables users to download data at up to 1.5 megabits per second - the equivalent of a high-speed landline. Speed is determined by type of service, ranging from "value" at 768 kilobits per second to 1.5 Mbps for "premium" and "business" accounts.

Clearwire has yet to publish coverage area maps for the Triangle, and a check of the company's website for several addresses in the area indicated service was not yet accessible. However, Beauboeuf can tell customers who contact him via email or telephone where they can connect.

Clearwire still lists Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh as future markets. The company does offer access across much of the Triad. Its plan calls for coverage in 200 U.S. metro markets as well as Mexico and other countries. Clearwire was launched in 2003.

Unlike services such as WiFi, or wireless fidelity, local area network "hot spots" in restaurants and in public areas such as along Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, Clearwire uses licensed radio spectrum for its WiMax network. Internet connections are therefore more secure, according to the company.

Clearwire recently closed on $900 million in financing from Intel and Motorola as part of its strategy to build a nation-wide WiMax network. Service is already available in 35 markets.

The company is also offering telephone service in some markets. It is based on digital Voice over Internet Protocol technology, an application used by cable TV providers such as Time Warner.

Sprint recently announced plans to build its own high-speed WiMax-based network to the tune of $3 billion.

Verizon, Alltel and Cingular are in the process of deploying higher-speed so-called "3G", or third generation, multimedia networks. Wireless data plans are now available from the cellular providers.

For more information, call 888-IVY GRAD (489 4723) or visit