Fixed Wireless Provider Tries Roaming

By Eric Griffith

May 17, 2005

North Carolina's DockPoint may be the first provider of a fixed wireless service to also offer customers access elsewhere (in this case, via RemotePipes).

RemotePipes has a new reseller for its IP Roamer service, which is geared toward fixed-wireline carrier partners like cable provider Charter Communications. Subscribers of DockPoint services in North Carolina (from DSL to fixed wireless) can pay to get IP Roamer as an extra.

DockPoint describes itself as a provider of "next generation wireless broadband." The company offers different levels of wireless residential service, starting at $30 per month for 256Kbps and going up to $70 per month for 1.5Mbps, all of which require a customer premises unit (CPE) that connects back to the point-to-multipoint center of the network. Businesses can pay much more for direct point-to-point wireless connections.

Managing Partner Michael Bavaro says the company is using pre-WiMax equipment. The network covers "hundreds of square miles of central and eastern North Carolina," according to the company's statement. They also offer DSL service in four states, as well as their own nationwide dial-up.

RemotePipes' IP Roamer aggregates Wi-Fi hotspots for use by partners' subscribers. The company recently added the SBC FreedomLink network to its footprint, which president Eric Engbers says puts the total number of hotspots it uses at 15,000 in 36 countries. IP Roamer also offers access to dial-up through 35,000 numbers in 130 countries.

The IP Roamer access is available now to DockPoint subscribers. Prices will start at $10 a year [not per month] for individuals and $30 a year for businesses, plus extra pay-as-you-go usage fees depending on where in the world hotspots or dial-in numbers are used.

"I hate to use the phrase, but it works like a pre-paid phone card," says Engbers. "Minutes are paid as you go."

He adds, "We know our solution isn't needed all the time: we recognize that. But when away from their CPE, customers need it, and need it bad."

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