5G and Beyond

Starry restarts expansion in Columbus, Ohio

Fixed wireless Internet provider Starry said it will begin offering services in its sixth market, Columbus, Ohio, sometime this summer. The company said it plans to eventually cover the "vast majority of the city of Columbus and surrounding communities" as part of its ultimate goal of covering "more than 40 million households across the United States" at some point in the future.

There are around 368,000 households in Columbus, according to US Census Bureau data.

Starry's announcement appears to represent an attempt by the company to resume an expansion effort that it mostly paused in 2019.

As Light Reading previously reported, Starry launched in 2016 with grand plans to cover the world with broadband. Those plans narrowed at the beginning of 2018 to expand into almost two US dozen markets, including Chicago; Cleveland; San Francisco; Houston; Dallas; Seattle; Detroit; Atlanta; Indianapolis; Philadelphia; Miami; Memphis; Phoenix; Minneapolis; Manchester, New Hampshire; Portland, Oregpn; and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But the company quietly acknowledged in 2019 that it would not reach that goal. Today, the company offers service in just five markets: Boston; New York City; Washington, DC; Denver; and Los Angeles. Columbus will be its sixth.

Starry's overall trajectory shifted in 2019 when it spent $48 million on 104 licenses in the FCC's 24GHz spectrum auction. Those licenses combined with Starry's existing 37GHz holdings cover a total of around 40 million US households.

Starry officials did not answer a number of questions from Light Reading about the company's expansion into Columbus, including what spectrum bands it might be using for the effort and how many households it expects to cover this year. Starry plans to offer symmetrical 200 Mbit/s speeds for $50 per month, and customers who sign up early can get $25-per-month services.

However, a Starry spokesperson did tell Light Reading that the company plans to cover all Columbus residents regardless of what kind of building they live in. That's noteworthy considering some fixed wireless Internet providers like Google Webpass typically only provide services into apartments and other large buildings, mainly by beaming connections onto rooftop receivers and then using the building's internal, wired network to reach end customers.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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