WISP News Briefs

By ISP-Planet Staff

November 07, 2002

WaveRider runs through the trees of Georgia, a new free hotspot to Czech out, and AMEX-listed USURF acquires NeighborLync.

GeorgiaSpeed.Net On My Mind

Non-line-of-sight (NLOS) fixed wireless gear from WaveRider Communications is being used to build a high-speed wireless broadband network in Fort Valley, GA, as part of the multi-phased GeorgiaSpeed.Net project.

The GeorgiaSpeed.Net project represents a multi-year contract between the Fort Valley Utility Commission (FVUC) and Tri-State Broadband, of Roswell, GA, to install and maintain the hybrid fiber-wireless system. Tri-State partnered with NetStar Communications to design, engineer, and install WaveRider's NLOS wireless Internet System for GeorgiaSpeed.Net. This project will bring symmetrical speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps to Fort Valley and Peach County area businesses and residents.

Ken Werner, FVUC general manager, said deploying a wireless broadband solution would leverage the community's fiber buildout.

"Several years ago, we installed a fiber ring in Fort Valley to connect government and commercial users," Werner said. "But with WaveRider's wireless broadband solution, we can now leverage the previous fiber investment in order to bring high speed services to smaller businesses and residents. That's a big plus for the community."

WaveRider's Last Mile Solution system offers a high-speed alternative to traditional Internet access systems. The system's design enables NLOS connections, which allows service providers to build networks in areas where the terrain, trees or buildings prevent direct line-of-sight connections. WaveRider's NLOS system includes a wireless modem and indoor antenna that can be installed by the subscriber or operators.

With the addition of the Dynamic Polling MAC, WaveRider's NLOS wireless system can accommodate up to 900 subscribers on a single three-sector base station and delivers a maximum data rate of 2.0 Mbps over a 2.75 Mbps channel, with a range of up to eight miles.

John Overley, Tri-State Broadband vice president, said WaveRider's NLOS equipment is an essential component of the community's efforts to deliver broadband services to the area.

"Fort Valley has many areas with dense tree coverage that cannot be reached with conventional line-of-sight wireless technologies, and connecting small businesses and residents directly to fiber is both overkill and very expensive," Overley said. "WaveRider's equipment enables us to deliver broadband connections very effectively through the trees and therefore reach more subscribers."

GeorgiaSpeed.Net officially launched in Fort Valley late in October. More than 150 local businesses and residents have pre-registered for the wireless broadband service.

John McDade, NetStar president, said fixed wireless is the best way to reach potential customers in the Fort Valley area.

"The GeorgiaSpeed.Net network in Fort Valley will deliver fast, reliable and cost-effective broadband services to businesses and residents that could not be reached using traditional fiber technologies," McDade said."

The FVUC's GeorgiaSpeed.Net project is the latest city wide deployment of WaveRider's NLOS Last Mile Solution wireless systems. Charles Brown, WaveRider vice president of sales and marketing, said the GeorgiaSpeed.Net project is typical of the size and scope of deployments that customers are planning with its NLOS gear.

"Large, established ISP, utility companies, and systems integrators are now planning large wireless networks covering several geographic areas within their markets, using our Last Mile Solution products," Brown said. "The non-line-of-sight and user-installed capabilities of our products have provided operators the cost-effective, and easy to deploy wireless solution they have been waiting for."

Based in Toronto, WaveRider is a global provider of fixed wireless Internet access products. WaveRider's Last Mile Solution product family includes its NLOS 900 MHz wireless system that connects businesses and residential subscribers to the Internet.

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Czech Out This Hotspot

A leading Czechoslovakian Internet service provider has opened up a free zone of wireless connectivity around its company headquarters in Prague. Based on similar initiatives by other businesses and ISPs in several European communities, Globe Internet is allowing anyone using a standard 802.11b Wi-Fi card to connect to the Internet over its hotspot -- free of charge.

One of the largest hosting services in the Czech Republic, Globe Internet provides Internet access, webhosting and design services to more than 6,500 customers located in various European cities. Jakub Ditrich, Globe Internet chief executive officer, said the free hotspot was deployed due to a decrease in its data transition expenses.

"The current data capacity of our company's offices is under utilized, less than 40 percent," Ditrich said. "Therefore we have decided to share at least part of this free zone with our surroundings."

Ditrich likened the move to deploy free wireless Internet access to other community-related services normally provided by area businesses. "If we ran a gardening business, we would probably plant flowers," Ditrich said.

"But our business concerns the Internet and that's why we want to provide our surroundings with this free service."

Free hotspots and community networks first sprung up in Seattle and New York City in 2000. The few hotspot movement hit Europe last year. Ditrich said new zones of free wireless access are popping up in Geneva, Paris, Nantes and other European communities. He expects the trend to continue.

"I believe that we will soon be followed by other companies since the public zone taps unused resources," Ditrich said. "Low operational expenses makes us willing to provide the public with our entire know-how."

Standard Wi-Fi clients do not require any further configuration once the wireless network is detected. An IP address is automatically allocated and the user can spend an unlimited amount of time on the Internet. The transmission capacity of the wireless Access Point (AP) is limited to 1 Mbps. But it's free, so maybe now is the time to consider spending springtime in Prague?

Globe Internet's address is Planickova 1, Prague 6. The hotspot is located between Planickova Na Petrinach, next to the residential area of Hvizda.

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USURF Usurps NeighborLync

USURF America. has completed an all-stock acquisition of NeighborLync, Inc, a start-up Denver, CO-area company providing video and data services to Multiple Dwelling Unit (MDU) properties. Through an association with MDU property developers, NeighborLync has an exclusive 15-year contract to provide broadband communication services to a 376-unit property.

The property, comprised of condominiums and located in Greeley, CO, is currently under construction by NeighborLync's developer-partner. Under the broadband services agreement, the group will provide all cable television and high-speed Internet services to the property's resident.

Ken Upcraft, USURF vice president of sales and marketing, said the company has great expectations for NeighborLync.

"NeighborLync has been very aggressive in pursuing more contracts with MDU properties, and we expect these efforts to result in its obtaining contracts in the near future," Upcraft said.

Doug McKinnon, USURF president said he has no problem growing the company by acquisition.

"We are pleased to have closed the first acquisition," McKinnon said. "Our strategy focuses on acquiring the best of our channel partners and, if possible, their competitors."

In September, USURF signed a letter of intent to acquire High Plains Internet, a Colorado Springs-based Internet service provider in another stock-only transaction. Earlier in the month, USURF and High Plains Internet had formed a strategic alliance, whereby HPI was to market USURF's 802.11b-based Quick-Cell wireless Internet access services.

Reprinted from ISP-Planet.

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