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Helping Clearwire Meet Compliance and Regulatory Deadlines

Communications | Network Infrastructure Staffing

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Clearwire partners with TEKsystems on a critical cell site commissioning project covering 900+ sites across the country.

Clearwire, a leading provider of wireless broadband services, currently serves 82 million customers in 62 markets across the United States and estimates reaching up to 120 million people by the end of the year. Clearwire’s open all-IP network, coupled with significant spectrum holdings, provides a powerful combination of speed and mobility to deliver next generation broadband access. TEKsystems has supported Clearwire since 2005.

WiMAX, Motorola Expedience

Clearwire acquired the long-term rights to a valuable piece of 2.5GHz licensed broadband wireless spectrum. This spectrum represents the foundation for the wireless broadband WiMAX services the client provides its customers. Clearwire owns 40 percent of the spectrum and leases the remaining 60 percent from accredited local educational institutions. In 2006, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated the Educational Broadband Service (EBS), a substantial service deadline of May 1, 2011. Substantial service requires that these licenses are used to serve the educational mission of one or more accredited public or private schools, colleges or universities providing formal educational and cultural development to enrolled students and meet or exceed minimum levels of service and usage requirements. If substantial service criteria are not met, these spectrum call signs revert back to the FCC.

Clearwire has established EBS leasing relationships in over 900 second- and third-tier regions across the country, areas that are important to the client’s overall rollout plan but in which Clearwire does not immediately want to build out an entire market. Meeting the EBS requirements in a single cell site in each of those regions means that Clearwire can maintain ownership of that spectrum until a planned, future full-scale network build-out.

Within its engineering group, Clearwire has a dedicated, cross-functional substantial service project team tasked with ensuring compliance with all spectrum-related legal and regulatory ramifications. With the compliance deadline approaching, Clearwire made the business decision to contract for key roles within this team. Looking to change its existing staffing vendor, Clearwire chose TEKsystems based on the flexibility of our delivery model and high-quality past performance.

Leveraging our comprehensive network of telecommunications professionals, national reach and regional presence, TEKsystems worked closely with Clearwire stakeholders to identify and source the required consultant skills sets. We were able to extend Clearwire’s team with a regulatory analyst, a licensee support manager, one Radio Frequency (RF) engineering/Geographic Information System (GIS) analyst, one spectrum operations support analyst, one spectrum project manager and one events project manager.

Each one of these resources integrated seamlessly into the client team and fulfilled key deliverables within it. For example, the regulatory analyst was responsible for developing and supporting cross-discipline support between regulatory, engineering, operations and deployment teams as well as building out and creating standard operating procedures for ongoing regulatory compliance need assessment efforts. The RF engineering and GIS analyst evaluated the existing Substantial Service project plan on a state-by-state basis and worked to improve configuration, reduce site count and improve site placement.

Two of these resources have since been taken on as full-time employees by Clearwire. The client is currently looking to TEKsystems to provide upward of 15 additional consultant resources. Additionally, we have been asked by the client to fill requisitions for 25+ resources to staff a national test project related to this initiative.

Clearwire’s substantial service compliance strategy has enabled the company to deploy its WiMAX network at a much lower cost than associated with traditional deployment methods. TEKsystems has provided critical resources to the substantial service project team. To date, the client has met all of its internal spectrum compliance milestones, therefore ensuring its continued, long-term control over its most valuable resource.

This engagement has led to an expansion of the TEKsystems-Clearwire partnership. Recently, Clearwire made the strategic decision to convert all 900+ sites from pre-WiMAX Motorola expedience into full-blown WiMAX sites. TEKsystems has assembled a team of four technical consultants to manage this process. Additionally, as Clearwire brings on new educational institutions as clients, it requires modem installations to ensure wireless broadband access and therefore EBS compliance. TEKsystems is providing an additional five support analysts to fulfill that need.

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