Clearwire to Clearwire: “Learn How to Really Connect”

On advisor’s opinion…

Learn how to really connect” is one of the slogan’s you’ll find currently running on Clearwire’s web site.

Actually, it’s not a bad idea, and I encourage them to follow their own counsel.

Early this year, before Clearwire started their big deployment efforts in earnest in Southern California, I reached out to one of their senior deployment managers in the Irvine office.  I offered to sit down with him and his staff to discuss Clearwire’s pending deployment.  I said ever-so-clearly that I wanted to learn more about their general plans so that I could help my local government clients understand the pending deployment, timing, equipment issues, RF safety matters, etc.

Sadly, the response I received back from Clearwire’s manager was that he’d talk, but only after I signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).  When I pointed out to him that I couldn’t sign an NDA since my purpose was to learn from Clearwire and then educate my governments, he flatly told me that I could just wait for the deployment to start.   ‘Pound sand’ is such a shortsighted attitude for a newbie to a market.

As someone who is the trusted technical and legal advisor to somewhere north of 150 governments in California through my direct client relationships, and my leadership position in SCAN NATOA, my goal in reaching out to Clearwire was to learn and bring the various players (sides, if you will) together before the massive deployment push started.  Too bad they didn’t ‘get it.’

I hope that Clearwire is smart enough to figure out that the governments want to see more wireless Internet access, but that those same governments must also follow the permitting rules that, so far, Clearwire seems to be trying to skirt around (at least in part).

There’s still time for Clearwire to learn how to honestly and clearly connect (pun only marginally intended) with the local governments…the very people they must get permission from to permit so many of their sites.

I believe that there’s a closing window of opportunity for Clearwire’s deployment team to figure out that there’s still a bit of time left to honestly sit down with the governments to explain (1) the true scope of the project; (2) the nature of the mesh back-haul; (3) that Clearwire is the real permittee (rather than having Sprint/Nextel front the projects);  (4) that these are new sites, rather than site mods; and (5) all the other things that they should have be talking about before day one of the real deployment push necessary to gain the trust and knowledgeable support of local permitting agencies in California.

As an advisor to local governments, I,  for one, would (still) be happy to sit down with Clearwire’s deployment team to talk turkey about the deployment that seems, for now, to be hit and miss.  I believe there area a lot of planners would like to honestly learn more about Clearwire, and would interested in the same sit-down.

To paraphrase Clearwire back to Clearwire: “It’s time you learn how to really connect.

Enough said.



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