SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Broadband wireless technology is likely to remain too cost prohibitive to ever achieve user numbers close to the 2 billion people who currently use mobile phones, according to Andrew Viterbi, co-founder of Qualcomm and currently president of the Viterbi Group LLC, a technology advisory and investment company.
Delivering a keynote address here Wednesday (Oct. 26) at the GSPx signal processing conference, Viterbi said broadband wireless could provide a "nomadic desktop experience" for business and professional users, but that high-speed wireless connectivity is not necessary for the majority of applications that consumers are interested in. Ultimately, he said, the user base for broadband wireless would peak at "hundreds of millions," rather than billions, of users.
"A lot of the dumb things that people do don't take that much bandwidth," Viterbi said, referring to applications such as gaming...
One application that people have been counting on to support the need for broadband wireless is high-quality audio and video broadcast. But Viterbi expressed doubt that people would be interested enough in this capability to justify paying the additional cost.
"We are going to get broadcast, and that is going to need high speed," he said. "But we've had audio broadcast for 100 years and video broadcast for 50 years, so what's new?"
Andy Viterbi doesn't get out much, I think.