Time Warner, Comcast May Bankroll Sprint's WiMax Network

Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. are discussing a plan to fund a new wireless Internet venture that would be run by Sprint Nextel Corp. and Clearwire Corp., The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday.

The partnership would create a nationwide network using WiMax technology, which promises faster wireless Web connection speeds for laptops and cell phones than mobile operators' third-generation networks.

Under the plan, Philadelphia-based Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, would put up as much as $1 billion, while No. 2 Time Warner Cable would add $500 million, the Journal reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Another cable operator, Bright House Networks, would contribute $100 million to $200 million, the Journal said.

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Spokesmen for Comcast and Sprint declined to comment when reached by The Associated Press late Tuesday. Representatives of New York-based Time Warner Cable could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sprint, based in Overland Park, Kan., is testing WiMax service in a few markets, and Clearwire, a Kirkland, Wash., startup founded by wireless pioneer Craig McCaw, has its own network based on WiMax technology in some parts of the country.

The two companies have been working for months on a joint WiMax venture that would attract funding from WiMax backer Intel Corp.

Google Inc. could also provide funding, the Journal reported.

Under the plan being discussed, the amount of each company's contribution could change, and it is still possible the entire deal could fall through, the Journal said.