TowerStream Makes West Coast Moves

UPDATED: TowerStream, a fast-growing provider of fixed-wireless broadband service for
businesses, said it has established its first point-of-presence
in Los Angeles atop the Aon Center.

In addition, the company tabbed San Francisco as the next market in its
national expansion. TowerStream currently offers service in Boston,
Chicago, New York, and Providence/Newport, R.I., and is on track to enter a
new city every quarter.

“The Aon Center is the second-tallest building in L.A.,” Jeff Thompson, COO
and cofounder of TowerStream, told internetnews.com.

The Los Angeles network is active, and customers can sign up for the service
now. TowerStream will build additional POPs in strategic points around the
city, with the goal of offering coverage within at least a 10-mile radius around
the city.

In San Francisco, service should be up and running by the end of the first
quarter, Thompson said.

The company vies for business customers against regional telecoms SBC and Verizon . TowerStream stresses cost, customer
service and reliability in pitching new customers.

Since the service isn’t routed through the incumbents’ central offices,
power failures like last year’s blackout in the East and fiber cuts caused
by construction errors don’t interrupt service.

So far, TowerStream has grown through direct sales of its $500-per-month T1
service. However, the company is developing into a channel program as it
looks to grow nationwide.

It’s also eyeing partnerships with several major Voice over IP
providers, Thompson said. Its technology, which is built on
emerging WiMAX standards, is capable of prioritizing voice traffic.

The Middletown, R.I.-based company, privately held and funded
through friends and family, is cash-flow positive. It has 33 employees.

“We know if we want to go much faster, we may need to raise some money,” said
Thompson, who added that there is no shortage of potential investors.

TowerStream was the first service provider to join the WiMAX
Forum, an industry group developing standards for the wireless broadband
technology.

Its current technology includes several of the features that will appear
in the first WiMAX shipments. Additionally, TowerStream will be
one of the first service providers to offer WiMAX-certified solutions
nationally, the company said.

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