CNET's Marguerite Reardon writes that BellSouth will soon announce a 1.5 Mbps wireless broadband service using pre-WiMAX equipment, offered as a backup in case a customer's wired broadband connection should fail. The service will cost $29.95 a month in addition to the wired broadband fee.
Michael Bowling, bellsouth's Vice President of Convergence and Platform Development, says the company developed the service after seeing how crucial wireless services became following Hurricane Katrina. "Katrina was a real-life lab for us when it came to developing backup strategies," he says. "But we found that customers wanted to return to their regular broadband service when things were up and running again."
While the company already offers standalone wireless broadband for $69.95 a month in many areas, the idea behind the new service was to make it easy for customers to access the service just as a backup. Reardon writes that the wireless tech being used is "very similar to WiMAX," and that "BellSouth was the first major phone company to offer a commercial wireless broadband service based on WiMAX-like technology."