Lights Out at LightPointe

Free space optics pioneer LightPointe Communications Inc. closed its doors on Tuesday, Unstrung has learned.

There's no official word on the closure from the company yet. But no one was manning the phones when Unstrung called on Wednesday afternoon.

LightPointe hasn't turned up at "The Wireless Event", a trade show in London being staged yesterday and today, even though it's listed as an exhibitor. "We had a phone call from Lightpointe saying it had been shut down," says a spokeswoman for Rock Media, the exhibition organiser.

People in the industry have heard about the company shutting up shop. Analyst Craig Mathias confirmed the gloomy Tuesday tipoff on Wednesday evening. Mathias says that he doesn't yet know the reason but expects that it is down to "too many bills and not enough revenue."

Free space optics (FSO) was one of the technologies that drove interest in wireless broadband back in the telecom boom of the late Nineties and early 21st century. (See Wireless Wonders). The long-range technology, however, didn't see the take-up that many were expecting -- partly because of problems with the wireless connection in bad weather. It didn't work well in fog or rain.

LightPointe had been been trying to deal with these problems by combining the FSO signal with a WLAN-like radio that could operate better in the fog. (See Interop Unwired.) Evidently it was too little, too late. FSO was already being overshadowed by newer wireless technologies such as WiMax and meshed WiFi.

The company was originally founded in 1998 in Boulder, Colorado. The company received $71 million in venture capital and debt financing.

There's still plenty of other players in the FSO market -- see Page 9 of "Who Makes What: Access Equipment".

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:55:55 PM
re: Lights Out at LightPointe

LightPointe's founder has been in touch to say that the company NEVER shut down.

I find it odd that they couldn't track us down until now but -- what can i say? -- we're ninjas over here. Very evasive. Very hard to find.

Anyway, we'll take LightPointe at its word (63 months later) and will get a story together that explores what they're up to now.

Meanwhile, if you want to see our follow-up to this story (declaring that the company is, indeed, open for business), please hit the link below. A 2011 LightPointe update will follow soon:



OnPR 12/5/2012 | 3:53:30 AM
re: Lights Out at LightPointe Looks like these folks are trying to screw a lot of vendors out of their money....

Looks like it is time to start the process to force an involuntary Bankruptcy.
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