Government Technology

Wireless Broadband Mesh Network Test Launched in San Carlos, Calif.



February 27, 2008 By

Covad Communications Group Inc., a provider of integrated voice and data communications, announced yesterday that it will use technology from Cisco to deploy a wireless broadband test network in San Carlos, Calif.  The test is part of the 'Concept City' phase of Wireless Silicon Valley, a project of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network and the San Mateo County Telecommunications Authority (SAMCAT).  

Covad's Wireless business unit, which already serves business customers in San Carlos, will layer a new wireless broadband mesh capability onto its existing fixed wireless broadband service.  Covad Wireless will use the latest wireless equipment from Cisco to create a mesh network, and judge performance, user experience and customer demand during the testing period.  Central to the test is creating a repeatable financial and operational model.  Following the completion of the test, Covad Wireless will explore expanding the mesh service to additional locations in the region.

"The Wireless Silicon Valley strategy aligns well with our goal to expand wireless broadband service in Silicon Valley," said David McMorrow, Covad general manager.  "In the past year, the municipal wireless market has grown and changed dramatically, and Wireless Silicon Valley's focus on economic development and multiple types of outdoor wireless broadband service is now a better fit for our differentiated approach at entering this market segment."

Partnership
"We are very pleased to welcome Covad Wireless as the service provider partner for the San Carlos 'Concept City' test," said Seth Fearey, vice president and chief operating officer for Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network and project director of the Wireless Silicon Valley project.  

"We have several hundred businesses of all sizes in the one square mile test area within San Carlos" said Brian Moura, assistant city manager for the City of San Carlos and co-chair of the Wireless Silicon Valley Task Force.  "Affordable access to carrier-class wireless broadband services is going to give those businesses and key sites around the City a leg up on the competition and help us attract more high-tech firms and startups to San Carlos.  It's exciting for our city to be an early focal point of the latest wireless broadband technologies." 

Business Model
Unlike many of the municipal Wi-Fi experiments in other metropolitan areas, the San Carlos test network is an extension of Covad Wireless' existing, high-margin fixed wireless business and benefits from the expertise of Cisco and the participants in the Wireless Silicon Valley initiative.

Covad currently offers fixed broadband wireless access using WIMAX, pre-WIMAX, and LMDS technology to deliver services with data speeds of up to 100 Mbps to over 1,700 business and enterprise customers in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The city of San Carlos is already an existing, satisfied customer of Covad Wireless and is able to provide cost-effective access for wireless equipment to poles, rooftops and other locations, and a continuing test base for municipal services.

Covad Wireless believes, and hopes to validate through this test, that wireless broadband mesh technologies, including Wi-Fi/802.11, can provide a cost-effective extension of its service delivery model by economically enabling services targeted at new market segments, such as:

  • Fixed broadband wireless access for the Small Office/Home Office (SoHo) and Very Small Business market segments requiring self installation and competitive market pricing
  • Nomadic and portable services for vertical market segments such as mobile business and sales professionals and municipal field services
  • Telemetry services for municipal and select vertical market segments.


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