Intel holds the telecommunications balance of power in its hand.
Here's how The Register puts it, with its usual hyperbole:
Intel is throwing its financial, technical and lobbying weight behind the rising tide of municipally run broadband wireless networks, seeing these as a way to stimulate uptake of Wi-Fi and WiMAX and so sell more of its chips and increase its influence over the communications world.
And Intel is not going to back down. As ZDNet notes today, there's money to be made.
Intel's support is vital, and not unexpected.
It is acting out of weakness. Intel was late to the party with WiFi routers, and it was skunked in its effort to become a supplier to telephone companies. Thus, the only way toward significant market share is as an insurgent.
This is great news for both entrepreneurs and boosters of metrowide WiFi clouds. It means there's a solid, Fortune 500 company in their corner, a supplier who wants to do the business, a political ally in the coming lobbying wars.
As Intel fights against the telecomm and cable duopoly, my guess is it's going to be awakened, even radicalized. Former CEO Craig Barrett is a big booster of broadband as the key to future economic growth, and for the company to see, first-hand, just how anti-competitive, monopolistic and ruthless the Bells and cable head-ends can be -- and how ready Washington currently is to knuckle-under to them -- will be an eye-opening experience.
This may be the most important story of the next few years, the efforts of big outfits outside the Washington cartel to gain a foothold through competitive markets, and their reaction to the rejection.
Kevin Martin better watch his backside. He's about to get Intel Inside his shorts.