Wal-Mart Broadband Looks A Lot Less Impressive Than First Envisioned

from the not-quite-what-you-expected dept

Three years ago, we discussed the possibility that Wal-Mart could eventually enter the broadband business. At the time, the discussion was around Wal-Mart using its massive network of stores to act as WiMax access points, coating much of the nation with wireless internet access. The idea didn't seem likely for a variety of reasons, and with the news that Wal-Mart actually is entering the broadband space, we can easily see why the WiMax plan never made sense for Wal-Mart. Rather than taking the route suggested three years ago, Wal-Mart is simply partnering with Hughes to resell satellite broadband access. As many people know, satellite broadband access is the last refuge for the broadband addict who simply has no other choice. The speeds aren't great, the latency is a huge pain, and the reliability is often a problem. So, there are already some hurdles to overcome. Second, unlike the original suggestion, Wal-Mart appears to have nothing to do with the offering, other than slapping its brand on it (and even then it's not entirely clear from the article how the service will be branded). That means that Wal-Mart won't be able to have much say in how the service is run. Even if the stories of Wal-Mart losing its technology edge are overrated, this deal is going to involve existing infrastructure and existing service models -- meaning that it won't shake up the industry very much at all. Basically, what was envisioned three years back was Wal-Mart routing around other providers and offering up something entirely new, which it could control. Three years later, the best the company can do is piggyback its brand on a weak legacy offering. That's hardly going to shake up the industry.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Oct 9th, 2007 @ 4:41pm

    Maybe not such a bad thing...

    ...afterall.

    If they did go the WiMax route and started putting local cable companies and DSL providers out of business, there would be no end of the "Evil Ol-WalMart" HitJob-umentaries on tv taking precious airtime away from "Gems With Mandy".

    Sorry, too much "Extra Sarcasm Blend" coffee today.

    Alan

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 4:47pm

    ... and we care about this because...? They can offer their service for .97$ instead of .99$? GO WALMART!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 5:30pm

    why am I not surprized

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 7:03pm

    Wal-Mart Broadband Looks A Lot Less Impressive Than First Envisioned...

    That's technically impossible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Streaker, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 7:41pm

    This signals a weakness in Walmart's management. That something like this would even be considered, and then implemented, shows that Walmart may have reached its peak and has begun a long spiral downward. Remember K-mart's dominance just a couple of decades ago.

     

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    Joe Smith, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 8:24pm

    WALMARTS TAKING OVER THE WORLD!!!!!

    I KNEW IT!! WALMARTS PLANNING ON TAKING OVER THE WORLD! FIRST THE SIEZ CONTROL OF THE RETAIL INDUSTRY SQUASHING OUT all COMPETITORS NOW THEIR HEADED TO TAKE OVER THE INTERNET. THIS IS AN OUT RAGE AND THEY MUST BE STOPPED. EVERYBODY NEEDS TO STOP SHOPPING AT WALMART ELSE WITHIN THE NEXT DECADE WE'LL BE WEARING SMILEY FACES EVERY WHERE WE GO. ACT NOW BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!!!!!!!!!

     

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    LJSeinfeld, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 8:25pm

    Well... satellite "broadband" does suck -- but just think of all the cash Wal-Mart will make on selling the mobile home roof mounts.

     

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    ME, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 8:37pm

    Maybe peasants in the country could actually GET high speed internet for a decent price seeing as WalMart is everywhere. The signal should cover rural areas. Dial up really sucks. -_-

     

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    jb, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 9:35pm

    it might be better than you think

    LEO satellites would reduce latency to something manageable. OFDM would allow an SFN/hybrid-terrestrial network for better urban coverage. mobile use may be supported. a new satellite-based TV service may be included.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    Marathonfl, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 9:56pm

    Satellite latency too high for gaming

    Gamers won't like the latency. With almost 96k miles for the data to travel round trip any gamer could experience too high of a delay to play effictively. On-line chess however will work just fine. VPN's often act up on satellite too. The only market they have is where people can't get other broadband options or don't need low latency communications.

     

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    4-80-sicks, Oct 10th, 2007 @ 9:50am

    Wal*Mart's reputation already frequently teeters dangerously. If I was them I certainly would not want to offer a universally reviled system. The fact that they're just rebranding it from another provider...well let's say it makes me think of walking into a pit bull fighting ring wearing a suit made of sausages.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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