Ricochet: Dead Again?
The company's service in San Diego was shut off late last week, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Meanwhile, the firm's CEO, Greg Sadler, told the Denver Post that Ricochet, which is a subsidiary of holding company Aerie Networks Inc., is "actively evaluating a number of options relative to its business prospects."
No one from the company had returned Unstrung's calls by press time.
Ricochet wireless service uses (used?) a Micro Cellular Data Network (MCDN) based on a digital packet-switched system that uses spread-spectrum radio frequency transmission, a mesh network architecture, and a 2.4GHz radio on the tabletop-modem-sized client device. The service offers data transfer rates of around 170 kbit/s.
Aerie bought the assets of Ricochet in November 2001 after original owner Metricom went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Originally, the new owners promised to reopen the entire 21-city network and work to make the system compatible with 802.11 wireless LAN networks; but to date they have only rebooted the service in Denver and San Diego (see Ricochet Rides Again).
If Ricochet has really gone under for a second time it won't be a promising sign for companies like ArrayComm Inc., IPWireless Inc., Navini Networks Inc., and others, which are all trying to promote their products as the basis for a similar kind of wireless broadband network (although many offer more mobility for users than Aerie's version of Ricochet does). A second strikeout for Ricochet will likely prompt the market to wonder again if these kinds of wireless cable/DSL replacement systems are actually viable.
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung