Covad's Hail Mary

The child of the Telecom Act finds its way with VoIP and WiMax.

Covad's CEO Charles Hoffman told me earlier this week that he expects big things out of VoIP and the new wireless broadband technology WiMax.

"If you look 3 to 4 years out, I think WiMax and VoIP would be the biggest contributors to our business," Hoffman said in an interview.

It's easy to root for the underdog, especially since Covad's been dragged through the mud by the ever-changing nature of telecom regulations.

Hoffman's predictions amount to a Hail Mary play into unknown markets. Nearly all of its revenues come from copper wire DSL access, which has become a steady business. But stepping into VoIP will cause losses to widen next quarter, and WiMax is barely ready for prime time.

Maybe a company as nimble as Covad can still find a few tricks up its sleeve.

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