Speakeasy, a national independent broadband services provider, has received a strategic investment from the Intel Communications Fund, managed by Intel Capital. Speakeasy will use the capital to help expand network endeavors related to the new 802.16 wireless technology known as WiMax. Financial details were not disclosed. In early 2004, Speakeasy also raised $24 million in a Series D financing round from 3i and BV Capital, among others.
"WiMax" is an industry standard for wireless communications that has the potential to expand broadband wireless communications from the current WiFi range of 300 feet to up to 30 miles. Approximately 7 million people are forecasted to be using WiMax by 2009 (source: Parks & Associates), and the service will allow Speakeasy to deploy a cost-effective wireless solution to a broader geographic footprint and customer base. Speakeasy's plans include the deployment of broadband wireless networks in 2005 to support this new technology.
"We are pleased to receive this investment from the Intel Communications Fund as it will contribute to Speakeasy's next phase of development. We believe that Intel's leadership in the technology sector makes it a natural fit with Speakeasy's progressive business model. We are excited to work with them on new wireless networking opportunities, which will allow small businesses and general consumers to improve their information sharing and connectivity resources," said Speakeasy CEO and President Bruce Chatterley.
"Intel believes with technologies like WiMax and service providers like Speakeasy, broadband deployment in the United States will begin to accelerate," said Scott Richardson, general manager of Intel's Broadband Wireless Division. "Speakeasy's experience in today's wired and wireless networks positions them to play a key role building out next generation networks."
WiMAX is a wireless metropolitan area network (MAN) technology that will connect 802.11(WiFi) hotspots to the Internet and provide a wireless extension to cable and DSL for last mile broadband access. 802.16 provides up to 31 miles of linear service area range and allows users connectivity without a direct line of sight to a base station. The technology also provides shared data rates up to 70 Mbps, which, according to WiMax proponents, is enough bandwidth to simultaneously support more than 60 businesses with T1-type connectivity and hundreds of homes at DSL-type connectivity.
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