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Clearwire's San Francisco WiMAX launch was a bureaucratic nightmare

Chris Ziegler

It seems awfully odd that San Francisco -- you know, San Francisco, part of America's technology nexus -- had been left out in the 4G cold for so long while over 70 other networks have been brought live in Clearwire's WiMAX footprint. Well, turns out there's a good reason... or maybe not a "good" reason, but a reason nonetheless: the city's notoriously brutal cell antenna approval process had ensnared Clearwire's efforts, leaving both Clear and Sprint customers out in the cold. The company apparently successfully navigated eight months' worth of approvals in and around SF's Planning Commission before getting slapped with an appeal over concerns that an earthquake could dislodge the antennas and blast residents with excessive levels of radiation; of course, it seems like it'd be a simple matter for technicians to go out and fix anything knocked loose after a tremblor, but what do we know? Regardless, looks like this is all behind us -- but it certainly serves as a sobering warning to all future networks that dare launch in and around the bay.

[Thanks, Serge]

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