Less than a year after snatching up the broadband wireless assets from bankrupt Metricom Inc. for fire sale prices, Ricochet Networks Inc. has re-launched the service in Denver.
RNI, which is owned by parent company Aerie Networks, purchased the assets in Nov. 2001 for $8.25 million with the intention of reviving the service. Before it went bankrupt, Metricom built the Ricochet network in 21 cities with 51,000 subscribers. The service offered wireless broadband connections at up t 128 kilobits per second.
In February, the company launched a test in Denver to determine the readiness of the network. To get the service back on its feet, RNI inked a public/private partnership with the city and county of Denver. The company has given the city modems and service in exchange for the joint development and deployment of Ricochet-based municipal and public safety applications. Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said the technology has "great potential" for the city. "This next year will enable us to test out applications like high-speed access in police patrol cars," Webb said in a statement. The city also will continue to experiment using the network to enable the fire department to pull up site plans en route to a fire or the paramedics to access health records or determine emergency room availability while they are responding to an accident.
The service is now available to residents and businesses in Denver for $44.95 a month. A Ricochet modem, which must be purchased to power the service, retails for $99.95.
RNI is negotiating with other cities, including New York, to re-launch the wireless broadband service.
Since Ricochet's inception, Metricom was hailed as a forerunner in the wireless broadband market, but the high cost of building out its network forced Metricom into bankruptcy.