Sprint CEO touts 'third generation'


Lawrence,KS (03-29-2001)

From Lawrence Journal World
By Mark Fagan



Scholars may have scoffed at Alexander Graham Bell's telephone, but William Esrey warns people not to think the same way about his third-generation wireless technology.

Like the phone, he said, the newer, faster and more effective technology will change the way people live.

"I can assure you that high-speed data that is usable no matter where you are or where you are traveling will be a central component of our future," said Esrey, chairman and chief executive officer of Sprint Corp. "If you want to do your e-mail, do your shopping, surf the 'Net or watch a movie, you can do so while jogging. You can simply use a heads-up display or the new technology that paints your retina.

"It's truly going to be an amazing new world."

Esrey brought his vision for an increasingly transportable communications future Wednesday night to the Lied Center in Lawrence. He delivered the 35th Vickers Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the Kansas University School of Business.

Esrey flew into Lawrence late Wednesday from Washington, D.C., where he and other leaders met with President Bush to discuss technology. The Washington meeting covered several of the same themes and topics Esrey discussed during his speech, "Can We Have Technology and Humanity?"

So-called "third-generation" wireless technology will cost Sprint about $1.5 billion during the next two years and double the network's capacity to carry voice transmissions, Esrey said. More important, the upgrade will boost data-transmission speeds to levels up to 10 times faster than a DSL connection within 18 months.

"I believe that technology will do for the 21st century what industry did for the economy and peoples' general well-being during the 20th century," Esrey said.

After the speech, in a back room before heading to a reception, he admitted to borrowing the thought.

"The president said that during the meeting today," Esrey said. "I stole his line."

Esrey also noted the importance of KU's presence so close to Sprint's own corporate campus in Johnson County.

At KU, 60 graduates involved with the school's Information & Telecommunication Technology Center have gone on to high-tech jobs with Sprint, ITTC director Victor Frost said.

The center also conducts research sponsored by Sprint.

For more information, contact ITTC.


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