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RealTime IT News

BroadJump Makes Leap To Fixed Wireless

BroadJump Inc., a "virtual truck" software company, announced this week its foray into the fixed wireless industry with an agreement with Sprint Broadband.

It's an agreement that Sprint officials hope will significantly reduce the time it takes for technicians to install its Sprint Broadband Direct fixed wireless Internet service to the home.

Virtual truck software lets digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable Internet users configure their computers without bringing a technician into the house to change the computer's connection settings, called a truck roll.

It's the nature of the beast that technicians need to be at the user's home to install the fixed wireless service, since installation includes mounting and positioning a satellite dish located on the top of the house.

But from the roof to the PC, the similarities with other broadband offerings are remarkably similar, said Matt Tormollen, BroadJump vice president of marketing, and that's where the savings will be made.

"The interesting dynamic about this is that with fixed wireless, they fix a satellite dish to a tower on somebody's roof," Tormollen said. "But from that satellite dish to the computer it very much mirrors the cable system, which goes from the coax to the cable modem that runs into a (network interface card or NIC) in the actual PC."

Sprint and BroadJump have been working together since July, when the two companies announced a partnership to deploy a self-install service for Sprint FastConnect DSL.

According to BroadJump numbers, nearly 80 percent of Sprint DSL customers now use the virtual truck software, resulting in what Sprint official say is a $180 per customer savings.

"With BroadJump's technology, we can enhance the installation process by offering our fixed wireless customers a fast and efficient service activation experience," said Evan Conway, Sprint assistant vice president of broadband marketing. "This represents another step in improving the overall customer experience and enhancing Sprint's ability to cost-effectively support adding thousands of new customers."

BroadJump has built a very successful business by pairing its self-install option with the market movers in broadband connectivity, companies like SBC Communications, AT&T Corp. and AOL Time Warner.

By avoiding troubled broadband providers, the company has been able to flourish with contracts that pay for each subscriber brought online using the virtual truck product.

Another reason the company has been able to thrive in today's high-tech stock challenged environment is its ability to adapt. With this week's announcement to support fixed wireless truck rolls, BroadJump now offers a product that fits the three "pipes" of broadband connectivity: DSL, cable and fixed wireless (satellite services do not fall under this category yet, as mainstream residential acceptance is far off yet).

To date, Tormollen said, about 50 percent of all broadband residential customers in the U.S. -- about half a million -- have used its product to come online. He expects that number to increase to one million by the end of the year.

Sprint has begun fixed wireless virtual truck installs in Wichita, KS; Colorado Springs and Denver, CO; Phoenix and Tucson, AZ; Houston; Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, Fresno and San Francisco, CA; Oklahoma City, OK; and Melbourne, FL.