Update: Grand Rapids, Michigan selects Clearwire for citywide network

The wireless broadband team in charge of the Grand Rapids, Michigan municipal wireless project is recommending that the city enter into an agreement with Clearwire for the city’s network. Below is an excerpt from the broadband team’s memorandum to the city council:The wireless broadband team in charge of the Grand Rapids, Michigan municipal wireless project is recommending that the city enter into an agreement with Clearwire for the city’s network. Below is an excerpt from the broadband team’s memorandum to the city council:

“The Wireless Broadband Team, Karl Edwards from Excelsio Communications, and our community partners, jointly recommend that the City enter into an agreement with Clearwire LLC to provide the City with WIMAX services through the construction of their privately owned and operated wireless broadband network. Clearwire possesses the expertise and verifiable experience in the design, development, and implementation of wireless broadband networks to meet the City’s requirements. Clearwire intends to provide coverage quickly throughout the City with competitively priced services using the latest technologies.”

“Clearwire uses a state-of-the-art wireless technology that works by transmitting signals to and from nearby cellular towers instead of using a traditional phone or cable line. Users have the flexibility to use their computer anywhere, in their home or office, inside or outside. Clearwire’s service is simple, reliable, and secure. Clearwire is led by Craig McCaw, one of the pioneers in providing cellular phone service in the United States. In the early 1980s, his company, McCaw Cellular, grew to be the largest cellular service provider in the United States and was later acquired by AT&T. Mr. McCaw was the director of Nextel Communications Inc. Clearwire’s leadership team has over 60 years of combined experience in the design, deployment, operation, and maintenance of large-scale, urban wireless networks nationwide.”

“This agreement between the City and Clearwire is the first of its kind in the company’s history. Although Clearwire has over thirty wireless broadband networks across the country, they have not previously partnered with local governments. Additionally, this agreement will provide the country’s first citywide WIMAX network to be built in Grand Rapids. Together, the City and Clearwire are looking forward to a state-of-the-art wireless broadband network that can serve our community’s businesses, residents, students, and visitors.”

Significant Elements of the Agreement with Clearwire LLC

“In a program designed to provide digital inclusion, Clearwire will provide discounted service to qualifying low-income citizens at $9.95 per month for up to 5% of the total households in Grand Rapids. This program will be administered by a local non-profit agency yet to be selected. Additionally, Clearwire has expressed a desire to donate free computers to aid disadvantaged persons. Finally, Clearwire will offer free Wi-Fi hot spots throughout the City to serve occasional users and visitors and offer a venue to introduce their services to citizens.”

“In keeping with the City’s commitment to complete this project “at no burden to the taxpayer”, Clearwire has agreed to immediately reimburse City the $100,000 it has expended to date to perform its due diligence. Additionally, Clearwire will pay established asset lease fees for use of City water towers, antennas, fiber network, and ducts. They have also provided a cost-neutral arrangement, whereby Clearwire will assure the City that the cost of public safety and other municipal use of their wireless broadband services will be fully offset by Clearwire’s asset lease payments and partnership fee granted by the company to the City.”

Conclusion

“This recommendation is the result of hundreds of hours of staff time over the past two years. The Mayor challenged this community and City staff with a visionary task. The City Commission set parameters to develop a network that met extremely high public safety standards without a financial burden on our taxpayers. The City Manager prioritized this project to permit his staff to dedicate the resources necessary to ensure that this project succeeds.”

“The Wireless Broadband Team was blessed to have worked with a tireless Project Manager—Sally Wesorick, an outstanding consultant—Karl Edwards, and several committed community partners on this project, including Laurie Cirivello and Chuck Peterson from the Community Media Center, Dave Drolette from the VanAndel Institute, Craig Paull from the County of Kent, Keith Van Beek from the City of Kentwood, Cathy Vander Meulen from the City of Walker, Larry Walters from Spectrum Health, and Rex Thelen from the Grand Rapids Public Schools.”

“The Wireless Broadband Team is pleased and proud to recommend this contract with the industry leader in wireless broadband technology. Clearwire was selected as the company best suited to meet Grand Rapids requirements. Clearwire’s wireless broadband solution uses proven technology that is state-of-the-art, cost-effective, sustainable, and self-funded to serve the City, its businesses, residents, and visitors.”

“Your Committee recommends adoption of the following resolution to enter into an agreement with Clearwire LLC to provide the City with WIMAX services through the construction of their privately owned and operated wireless broadband network and lease of City facilities.”

Click here to see the Clearwire agreement summary.

UPDATE: The City Council voted unanimously today to select Clearwire as the provider of citywide wireless broadband service in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Comments, anyone?

Comments

  1. I wonder what “normal” subscribers are going to be paying to cross-subsidize the low-income citizens, the occasional users, the license fees, and the due diligence costs.