RealTime IT News

Broadband Central Accelerates Wi-Fi Plans

Citing strong demand from investors and customers, Broadband Central has doubled its planned wireless Internet coverage area to 22 states.

The new states are: Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Wyoming.

Initially, the Draper, Utah, company targeted 11 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

"Deployment has already begun along the Wasatch Front in Utah, in Phoenix and in Las Vegas," spokesman Curtis Gasser told internetnews.com.

The company installs 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. There's no charge for the on-site equipment.

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 who may not be served by large Internet service providers or cable companies.

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. Sponsorship costs are not disclosed.

Broadband Central will focus on the rollout and will not accept sponsors for new Blue Zone deployment until 2004. It is also looking for partners to help it install access units and customer gear. Likewise, it is putting its service reseller program on hold, at least until the end of the year.