Faster Wireless Comes to SF, but Only for a Few

By Matt baume
|  Monday, Dec 27, 2010  |  Updated 11:45 AM PDT
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Faster Wireless Comes to SF, but Only for a Few

Sprint's new HTC phone.

The future of wireless phone and Internet service is coming to San Francisco -- but for now, it's only available to a select few.

Sprint will launch its fourth-generation mobile network this week,
bringing "4G" signal range to mobile devices. According to the company, 4G tech will allow users to complete large downloads and move about the City without losing the signal, as is frequently the case with providers like AT&T.

For mobile devices, a Seattle-based company called Clearwire is launching a new service called WiMAX, which they say will allow you to go online anywhere in the City, without having to search for WiFi networks or for cellphone towers.

San Francisco joins Sacramento, Stockton, LA, an dozens of other cities that have gained WiMAX since it launched over a year ago.

The availability of new technology is thanks in part to the construction of new cell towers around town. But future rollouts may come slowly, as Supervisor John Avalos has proposed legislation that imposes new limits on tower construction.

That's in response to a tower-owning company that failed to live up to its maintenance obligations, allowing facilities around Bernal Heights to become overgrown with weeds and littered with trash.

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