WiMAX service provider Towerstream is one of those looking to get a piece of the stimulus package action.
“We’re not going to bank on it, [but] we think there’s a good chance we can participate,” says Towerstream President and CEO Jeff Thompson.
The government is looking for shovel-ready projects, and Towerstream already has deployed its WiMAX gear in nine U.S. markets. Thompson says he doesn’t think the stimulus package is meant only for hard-to-reach rural areas; he can point to plenty of examples of outlying areas around major cities where people are not getting broadband from traditional carriers.
It’s precisely those traditional carriers that Towerstream is going head-to-head with in its markets. The company, which is concentrating on existing markets as opposed to launching new ones, says its network is truly redundant, unlike networks based on fiber that can get cut in incidents like the one that happened last week in San Jose, Calif. (story here). Towerstream does not offer service in San Jose, but when communications go down due to fiber cuts, its network is not affected because it’s above ground.
Towerstream isn’t as well-known as the “other” U.S. WiMAX provider – Clearwire – but it is deploying mobile WiMAX technology, even though its application is for fixed situations. Thompson says that’s in part because the mobile WiMAX gear provides for better economies of scale/pricing. (The Towerstream network isn’t set up to handle handoffs as is required for a mobile use case.)
Towerstream has almost 1,400 customers, most of which are businesses with more than 30 employees.