Light Reading

WiMax & 'Jet Blue Economics'

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
11/16/2005
50%
50%

Just what does it take to build a business serving wireless broadband to enterprise customers in a space that is littered with the burnt-out remains of startups that have tried and generally failed to, ahem, light up the market.

Jeff Thompson, the newly appointed CEO of business-oriented wireless broadband service provider TowerStream Corp. was on hand to provide some insights in his keynote this afternoon at the latest Light Leading Live show, WiMax: From Development to Deployment, held at the Westin Times Square in New York City this Wednesday.

Thompson hit on a variety of topics during his hour-long presentation, but he focused on how a startup can build and expand a wireless broadband business in the face of fierce competition from competitors new and old, service and maintain a customers, and exploit the advantages of wireless in getting service up and running quickly.

“It’s 'Jet Blue' economics versus 'Delta' economics,” Thompson told the crowd.

Own the infrastructure, own the air
TowerStream owns its own metro-ring backbone and last-mile connectivity in the U.S., and this is a key factor in controlling its outlay, according to the CEO: “There’s no monthly recurring costs."

Similarly, the company has been trying to “scoop up properties throughout major markets in the U.S.,” so that when it comes time to place its “pre-WiMax” base stations, the firm can offer customers the best line-of-sight or near line-of-sight connections and set them up quickly.

“Customer acquisition costs are much less expensive when you have prime real estate,” Thompson says.

And TowerStream has already leased some major “beachfront properties” -- as Thompson calls them -- most notably The Empire State Building in NYC.

But getting such access is a definite potential hangup for startups looking to enter the market. “It literally takes years to sign quality leases,” warns Thompson.

And the firm won’t “light up” a customer’s premises on a whim, even if it has base stations in place. “Every time we light a building it’s with a customer that gives us at least $500 a month." What does a WiMax customer want anyway?
Unsurprisingly, customers for wireless broadband services are like technology buyers the world over: They want low cost, reliability, high data transfer speeds, and customer service.

“One of the things they like about TowerStream is the fact that they get to speak to a representative within 30 seconds,” says Thompson.

But he adds that recent events have opened people’s eyes to the need for speed of installation and flexibility of wireless for broadband customers.

“We can install in 48 hours… That’s been crucial in the last two months with all of the weather that has affected legacy equipment.

“It’s been monsoon weather in New York and New England [two of the firm’s key markets]… We’ve had 10 inches of rain. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The never-ending rain resulted in flooding and the loss of connectivity for some users running over copper. “There’s no way you’re able to repair soaked copper when it’s still covered with rain -- we were able to get them up and running."

More services at lower cost
One of the keys to working with WiMax and the precursors to this technology is to exploit the new applications offered by wireless broadband. VOIP is a key service for the TowerStream chief.

“The WiMAX Forum has been very proactive, not just with fixed but with mobile as well, in supporting VOIP,” notes Thompson, who adds that WiMax vendors have SOHO/CPE units with SIP ports onboard. Session Initial Protocol (SIP) is the code that enables an IP call setup over these networks. Indeed SOMA Networks Inc. showed Unstrung a pre-WiMax unit with RJ jacks for home phones here at the show.

“It enables us to offer products that did not exist in the past,” says the TowerStream boss.

Spectrum? No problem
Interestingly, Thompson has a unique take on the issue of the availability of licensed WiMax spectrum in the U.S., something that many talking heads say could dog the adoption of the technology over here.

TowerStream has always used unlicensed spectrum for its services, and Thompson doesn’t expect that to change any time soon. “We’ve got plenty of spectrum now... and in my opinion, the spectrum is the most polluted it has ever been right now. I think it’s actually going to get better."

Part of this improvement will be precipitated by the arrival of the first wave of standardized WiMax equipment in 2006, Thompson reckons, because wireless channel sizes will be more regular, predictable, and quite possibly smaller. “We’ll get rid of the some of the weird 30MHz channels from the proprietary guys,” he chuckles. “Things are actually going to improve.”

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Using Service Quality to Drive WiFi Monetization

10|22|14   |   6:51   |   (0) comments


Live from the SCTE conference: Heavy Reading's Alan Breznick explores the forces shaping the WiFi opportunity in an interview with CableLabs' Justin Colwell and Amdocs' Ken Roulier.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 2

10|21|14   |   8:51:00 AM   |   (0) comments


ARRIS CTO Network Solutions Tom Cloonan discusses why many if not most MSOs will continue with integrated CCAP, while addressing why some are also looking at two futuristic, distributed access architectures: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 1

10|21|14   |   9:01   |   (0) comments


SCTE Sr. Director of Engineering Dean Stoneback discusses the pros and cons of distributed access architecture (DAA) and its various forms, which range from basic Remote PHY to full CMTS functionality in the node.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 2

10|21|14   |   3:58   |   (0) comments


ARRIS Senior Solution Architect Eli Baruch talks about how MSOs can enable public and community WiFi through 1) outdoor access points, 2) businesses seeking to offer WiFi to customers, and 3) residential WiFi gateway extensions.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 1

10|21|14   |   10:15   |   (0) comments


SCTE Director of Advanced Technologies Steve Harris discusses WiFi deployments, drivers, challenges and advances, including 802.11ac, carrier-grade WiFi, community WiFi, Hotspot 2.0, Passpoint, WiFi-First and voice-over-WiFi.
LRTV Custom TV
Advantech Accelerates 100G Traffic Handling

10|17|14   |   7:56   |   (0) comments


Paul Stevens from Advantech explains why handling 100GbE needs a whole new platform design approach and how Advantech is addressing the needs of equipment providers and carriers to give them the flexibility and performance they will need for SDN and NFV deployment.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Holland's Imtech Traffic & Infra Discusses Huawei's ICT Solution and Services

10|16|14   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Dimitry Theebe is from the business unit at Imtech Traffic & Infra which delivers communications solutions for transportations. His partnershp with Huawei began about a years ago. In this video, Theebe speaks more about this partnership and what he hopes to accomplish with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Comprehensive Storage Solutions Vital for SVR

10|16|14   |   6:16   |   (0) comments


SVR Information Technology provides cloud services for academic and special sectors. With Huawei's support, SVR and Yildiz Technical University has established Turkey's largest and most advanced High Performance Computing system. CSO Ismail Cem Aslan talks about what he hopes Huawei's OceanStor storage system will bring for him.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mexico's Servitron's Impression of Huawei at CCW 2014

10|16|14   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Servitron is a network operator in Mexico that has been in the trunking industry for the past 20 years. Its COO, Ing. Ragnar Trillo O., explains at Critical Communications World 2014 that his company has been interested in the long-term evolution of LTE technology and its adoption for TETRA.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Dubai

10|16|14   |   2:06   |   (0) comments


Abdulla Ahmed Al Falasi is the director of commercial affairs, a telecommunications coordinator for the government of Dubai. Their areas of service span across multiple industries, including police, safety, shopping malls and more. In this video, Abdulla talks about his department's work with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Lights Up Malaysia Partner Maju Nusa

10|16|14   |   1:59   |   (0) comments


Malaysia's Maju Nusa is an enterprise partner to Huawei in networking, route switches and telco equipment. At this year's Critical Communications World in Singapore, CTO Pushpender Singh talks about what Huawei's eLTE solutions mean to his company and for Malaysia.
LRTV Custom TV
Evolving From HFC to FTTH Networks

10|15|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Todd McCrum delves into the future of cable's HFC plant, examining how DOCSIS 3.1 and advanced video compression will extend its life and how the IP video transition will usher in GPON and EPON over FTTH.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Analysts Warn of Major NFV Gaps
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/22/2014
Is Health the Killer App for the IoT?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 10/22/2014
Drones Hover Over the IoT Sector
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 10/23/2014
1959 Newsreel: Make Phone Calls – From Cars!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/24/2014
Meet the Phantom Network for NFV
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/23/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed