RealTime IT News

Burst Wireless Busts into Broadband Scene

Personnel fallout from converging technologies and corporate acquisitions has combined to produce an interesting Washington-based wireless initiative.

Telecom pedigreed former heads of McCaw Cellular, AT&T Wireless Inc., Lucent Technologies Inc., Nextel Communications Inc., and NEXTLINK Communications Inc. hitched-up Monday to deliver Burst Wireless Inc.

The wireless offspring of the former mobile communications and Internet companies' executives plan to deploy a portable, broadband Internet access solution for high-speed hungry consumers by this time next year.

Burst Wireless was also awarded an experimental license from the Federal Communications Commission to begin field trials of its broadband wireless network in Washington's Olympic Peninsula this summer.

The new firm will be lead by former NEXTLINK president and chief operating officer, George Tronsrue. Mark Hamilton, former president of international development and operations at AT&T Wireless Services will serves as vice chairman of Burst Wireless.

Telecom veteran Tronsrue said Burst Wireless would revolutionize the way people connect to the Internet by combining existing and innovative technologies.

"Burst will provide freedom and control to Internet users, the biggest thing to hit the Internet or wireless industry since taking the stationary cell phone out of the car and putting it into people's hands," said

David Hsiao, formerly of Nextel, co-founded Burst. He's joined by chief technical officer Richard Compton from Lucent Technologies, Mark Schultz, former senior vice president at AT&T Wireless, Steven Pollis, former vice president at NEXTLINK, and Susan Salazar, former NEXTLINK chief people officer.

Burst Wireless is developing facilities-based wireless services designed to target residential demand for portable broadband Internet access nationwide.

The company's service portfolio is constructed around a plug-and-play design that facilitates quick access to the Internet through wireless modems.

Field trials of Burst's wireless network are scheduled to take place in Port Angeles, Washington. The firm will utilize a specially designed truck containing base station equipment to handle wireless signals and network traffic. The tests are designed to validate its deployment method, user provisioning and customer experience.

Richard Compton, Burst chief technical officer said it was time to break out of the lab and test its wireless connectivity in the field.

"We are taking proven technology from the lab and building an operational system in the field to demonstrate our unique solution," Compton said. "We believe our trial users will enjoy the value of complete Internet portability, making it difficult for them to imagine being tethered to a single location."

AT&T Corp. acquired McCaw Cellular in a $11.5 billion deal completed in 1994. NEXTLINK and Concentric Network Corp. closed a $2.54 billion equity value merger earlier this month.

Burst will likely leverage its executive's family tree to build upon future relationships to deploy its broadband wireless services after test results are completed later this year.

At stake is Burst's ability to ramp-up and grab hold of a piece of the wireless Web market, which Cahners In-Stat Group estimates will be populated by nearly nine million users in three years.

Initial plans include for its network testing that utilizes cellular