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Starting this Friday, Washington D.C. will be host to a 10-day technology festival, Digital Capital Week. Modeled after a combination of Internet Week NY, Fringe Festival, and the Social Media Week, the event is expected to attract most of D.C.'s technology community.
Clearwire, of course, is the 4G WiMax company majority owned by Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S ) after Clearwire merged with Sprint's wireless broadband unit Xohm in 2008. At that time, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) , Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) , Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA ) , and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC ) also took minority stakes in Clearwire. Branded as CLEAR, in January 2009 the company unveiled Portland, Oregon as its first 4G WiMAX wireless broadband market and has now expanded across the country into more than 30 other cities. As of June 1, that list includes Washington D.C.
Conference organizers released this statement:
When we launched DCWEEK three months ago, we knew there would be a lot of unknowns. Many of those unknowns have included venues, content, schedule issues and malfunctioning robots. However, when you're producing a festival for nearly 4,000 people one of the most expensive unknowns is connectivity -- meaning, will the wireless access work, how strong will it be, and how much will it cost in the venues you're using.
Sadly, when we found out the cost part – it almost killed the festival. It was going to cost almost $30,000 to power an Internet connection at our venue.
CLEAR is ... graciously providing wireless access at our core festival events from 6/16 to 6/19. They're literally pointing the signals from their nearby towers at the building we'll be in.
The buzz and brand love from this during the festival is a big win for Clearwire, getting the company in front of many in the D.C. tech community who may never had heard of it.
While Clearwire has its doubters, for now it seems Clearwire has a bright future ahead of it, at least in Washington D.C.
For those of you in the D.C. area, The Motley Fool's John Keeling (TMFJake), VP of Community Intelligence, will be speaking during Digital Capital Week on June 18, on a panel titled "Money + Tech." Get yourself registered!