Broadband Central Makes Wireless Push

By Staff

May 22, 2003

The startup will deploy 700 access sites in seven Western states in the first phase of a national rollout.

Broadband Central plans to build 700 wireless Internet access sites in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington in the first phase of a national rollout.

The company will install a proprietary 22-inch diameter 802.11 mast in each area. The device uses three antennas and advanced radio transceivers to provide service to subscribers in a 1-mile ring (which it calls a "blue zone").

At a customer's home or business, Broadband Central installs a corresponding 8-inch diameter antenna and a separate client device to provide always-on high-speed Internet access.

The access points also work with Wi-Fi enabled phones, laptops and handhelds, although the company is aiming mostly at residential users looking to jump from dial-up to broadband.

The Draper, Utah, startup plans to begin selling service in the seven Western states as soon as July. Prices ranges from $19.95 to $59.95 per month, depending on speed. There is no purchase or lease fee for the home equipment.

"We'd like to be in every state by the end of the year with at least 100 sites," Tali J. Haleua, co-founder and CEO of Broadband Central told

Privately held Broadband Central was founded in November as a product company, selling to individuals who wanted to set up small wireless networks. It was bootstrap funded by its founders.

But in February, it changed its business model, and began recruiting financial backers interested in sharing the costs of establishing access points in return for revenue sharing agreements.

Most are individuals, who have invested in several sites. Haleua declined to disclosed the sponsorship costs.

In recent weeks there has been a flurry of wireless Internet access as Verizon and SBC announced plans to roll out hotspots for their DSL subscribers to gain access while traveling.

Broadband Central is not planning to go head-to-head with the major broadband providers in its area (Qwest, Comcast), preferring to concentrate on overlooked second-tier markets.

"If we wanted to go head-to-head with them, we could though," Haleua said.

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