Starry says spectrum wins widen reach to 40M US households

After coming away with 104 licenses for 24GHz spectrum in parts of 25 states, Starry says it's now gearing up to put that capacity to work.

Starry, a provider of speedy, fixed wireless broadband services, said the 104 licenses won following the FCC's Auction 102, combined with its current deployment roadmap, put the company in position to span more than 40 million households, or north of 25% of all US households.

Starry said the addition of 24GHz capacity enables it to complement its initial use of shared spectrum with exclusive licensed spectrum.

"We built our technology to be agile and operate across a range of frequencies, so that we could take advantage of opportunities like this to expand and grow our network," Starry CEO Chet Kanojia said in a release.

While the new spectrum enables Starry to start the next phase of its plan for the US, Kanojia hinted that the company's spectrum-agnostic approach also offers international potential.

Its platform uses a proprietary, phased array antenna system with MU-MIMO under a point-to-multipoint design. Starry claims its architecture, which can reach a community with dozens of basestation sites, can deliver broadband service at less than $20 per home passed.

Prior to Auction 102, Starry had launched services in a handful of markets -- Boston; Los Angeles; Washington, DC; New York City and Denver. Its uncapped, symmetrical 200Mbit/s service starts at $50 per month.

Starry, which has initially focused on apartment buildings and the broader multiple-dwelling unit market, hasn't announced customer numbers or connected buildings yet. However, the company has said it can usually get 20% of the residents in a building to take its service within 60 to 90 days of launch. Starry has also said the service tends to attract cord-cutters, with the average sub using about 350 gigabytes of data per month.

Starry is generally viewed as tangential consumer broadband competition to cable operators and other wired ISPs.

Having raised more than $250 million, Starry has plans to expand service to Chicago; San Francisco; Houston; Dallas; Seattle; Detroit; Atlanta; Indianapolis; Philadelphia; Miami; Memphis; Phoenix; Minneapolis; Manchester, N.H.; Portland, Ore; and Sioux Falls, S.D.

Starry said the licenses won via Auction 102 cover partial economic areas in more than half the US, including the following areas:

Table 1:

State Cities
Alabama Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile
Arizona Tucson
Arkansas Little Rock
Colorado Colorado Springs and Fort Collins
Florida Jacksonville and Tallahassee
Idaho Boise City
Illinois Decatur
Indiana South Bend, Fort Wayne and Bloomington
Kansas Wichita
Kentucky Louisville
Ohio Cleveland, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton and Columbus
Massachusetts Springfield
Mississippi Jackson
Nevada Las Vegas and Reno
New Mexico Albuquerque
New York Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse and Rochester
North Carolina Fayetteville, Greensboro, Charlotte and Raleigh
Louisiana Baton Rouge and New Orleans
Pennsylvania Harrisburg
South Carolina Charleston
Tennessee Nashville, Chattanooga and Memphis
Texas San Antonio, Brownsville, Lubbock and El Paso
Virginia Virginia Beach
Washington Spokane
Wisconsin Milwaukee and Madison
Source: Starry.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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