FatPort uses Covad for U.S. Expansion

Vancouver, British Columbia-based hotspot provider FatPort is making its way south in North America. The company has entered an agreement with national broadband service provider Covad, which will provide a digital subscriber line (DSL) backbone for hotspots deployed using FatPort’s hardware.

FatPort’s hardware consists of the FatPoint line of hotspot access points. The FatPoint Complete costs a venue $200 per month (with a one year commitment) to run and includes all the customer need to get up and running, including the DSL line installation, training, and materials for marketing. End users at the site are connected to the box whether they use DHCP or have a static IP address and get a sign-in screen before they can surf.

The FatPoint Complete was popular with Canadian customers, but according to Michael Kuhlmann, VP of Business Development at Fatport, without a partner in the United States, the company could not fully service customers south of Canada that wanted FatPoint Complete.

“We’ve had a number of customers in the U.S., but none have deployed [our] products — they’ve got the hardware to see how it works,” says Kuhlmann.

He admits that customers who want to buy the Complete will be limited to those who can get Covad DSL, since as most of us know, DSL isn’t available everywhere. “But we needed some network that would give us the best penetration we could get.

“We’re happy to service customers in the U.S., and that’s what this about,” says Kuhlmann.

FatPort also sells the FatPoint Express. It’s the same hardware for venues with existing broadband (cable, DSL, or other); it can be purchased outright for $525. FatPort does a 50/50 revenue split with any venue owner that has users that authenticate via the FatPort central servers. The company sells a customizable OEM version of the product for $525 that doesn’t require connection to FatPort’s servers.

Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.

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