The startup ISP Starry is looking to redefine the Internet, and it seems like it will be a dominating figure in the industry, potentially overthrowing traditional broadband providers.
Aereo founder Chet Kanojia started the company with the goal to deliver broadband Internet wirelessly through millimeter wave technology and to considerably reduce the cost for such a service by taking the infrastructure and cable factors out of the picture.
"It costs the cable guys around $2,500 per home to deal with the construction costs of laying down cable. And beyond cost, there are regulatory hurdles that slow down the process. We can deliver faster broadband with no regulatory wait time and it will cost us only $25 per home," Kanojia tells TechCrunch in a phone interview.
Aside from offering the more affordable option, which is needless to say a big plus, Starry will be able to take on the big players in the industry because of the innovation it's bringing to the table.
As mentioned earlier, the company employs "millimeter wave band active phased array technology." It's a bit of a mouthful, but what it has in store for future subscribers can be put in simpler terms.
A node called Starry Beam will be placed on a rooftop that's situated in an area with the means to provide broadband Internet access wirelessly through millimeter waves. As for its coverage range, it goes somewhere from 0.6 to 1.2 miles.
Through "active phased array," the node will be able to point the millimeter waves to Starry Point – a small device that's positioned outside a home's window, which basically serves as a type of antenna – in various directions, which ultimately delivers Internet connection to users.
Now, the millimeter waves aren't capable of passing through walls or other similar objects, but they can bounce off them, which means they are perfectly usable in cities. This is likely the reason why Starry Point needs to be placed outside.
Customers in the United States usually only have a handful of broadband service providers to choose from, but with Starry's plans to join the mix, there's a pretty good chance that a big change is coming.
According to Kanojia, the company's network runs a 38 GHz unlicensed wireless band, and it's capable of dishing out gigabit speeds at lower prices compared to traditional broadband services such as Comcast and Verizon.
There are currently no exact details regarding the price yet, but Starry did say the service will be available in a range of speed-based tiers of up to 1 GB. Also, the company assures customers there will be no data caps.
Starry also offers a nifty Wi-Fi router called Starry Station that can connect via a wire to Starry Point. While it runs 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, it also provides 802.15 support for the Internet of Things.
It's pegged at $349, but it does have a 3.6-inch touchscreen running on Android with the Internet Health Score software, which keeps tabs on the connection and carries out speed tests.
Starry intends to ship out Starry Station sometime in March and Starry Wing, the company's Wi-Fi extender, in summer.
Of course, wireless broadband is nothing new, but past technology to support it wasn't exactly the most feasible option. It needed a line of sight and could only offer speeds comparable to a cable modem.
Nevertheless, Starry is about to make a huge entrance in the broadband Internet industry with a fast and affordable wireless service.