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Comcast to Offer WiMAX

Comcast is hopping on the WiMAX bandwagon, starting in the Beaver State.

Since 2008, Clearwire has been testing its WiMAX wireless Internet service in several city markets. With the service now rolling to additional major cities throughout 2009, Comcast has decided to join in on the fun. Starting in Portland Oregon, the telco giant will begin to roll out its own WiMAX service sometime in the spring or summer.

While the service will offered under Comcast, the company is actually using Clearwire's WiMAX service and re-branding it. According to OregonLive, there is no word on Comcast's pricing just yet, but Clearwire charges between $20 and $50 for their service in Portland. The biggest advantage to grabbing WiMAX from Comcast is the services ability to be bundled with TV and phone. Since Comcast is already Oregon's top cable provider, the company will likely see many new and current customers grab WiMAX with Digital Cable, all while saving a few bucks in the long run.

Comcast is now emerging as both an investor and competitor for Clearwire. Along with companies like Google and Intel, Comcast has invested over $1 billion in Clearwire, much of which is dedicated to helping the Seatlle-based startup deploy its WiMAX wireless service across the country. However, Comcast now offering its own WiMAX service combined with both companies already offering in-home broadband Internet makes for a budding rivalry.

Clearwire has other challenges awaiting it as well. Since the company went public last year, its stock price has dropped over 85 percent. While the current recession certainly has a hand in such a decline, many are wondering if Clearwire can pull off a nationwide implementation of its WiMAX service. Assuming Clearwire gets the job done, WiMAX is set to compete against the cell phone companies Long Term Evolution (LTE), or 4G wireless broadband service. Verizon Wireless and others are working diligently to roll out 4G as soon as possible, and with so many people already paying for 3G service with the same phone companies, Clearwire may have trouble converting consumers to WiMAX.