Starry hires former Google Fiber exec to help expand fixed wireless network

Starry, the startup that is developing millimeter wave band active phased array technology for consumer Internet connections, is getting some help from a former Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) executive in its quest to set up alliances with partners in the U.S. and around the world.

starry station

 Starry Station

The company hired former Google executive Kristen Morrissey Thiede as its senior vice president of business development and corporate strategy. She most recently served as an advisor at New York City-based venture capital firm Metamorphic Ventures and before that spent 14 years at Google. She led business development and content licensing for Google Fiber and early stage efforts across Google's global portfolio.

At Starry, she will lead the business development and corporate strategy as it builds and expands its fixed wireless broadband network nationally and globally. She will have responsibility for developing partnerships and alliances that enhance the company's strategic growth priorities.

Thiede is just the most recent talent to sign on with Starry, which was co-founded by the former Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia, who holds more than 14 patents. Its chief technology officer, Joe Lipowski, also served as CTO for Aereo, where he led the technology development for Aereo's proprietary, cloud-based antenna/DVR platform. Before that, Lipowski was senior VP of engineering at LoJack Coporation and a VP of research in the base station subsystems group of Andrew Corporation. He was a founder of Celiant Corporation and CTO from its spin-off as the RF power amplifier division of Lucent's wireless networks group.

Starry announced the launch of its technology in January, when it described plans to use millimeter waves as an alternative to fixed wireless broadband. By using OFDM modulation coupled with MIMO as a foundation, along with active phased array RF front ends, Starry's architecture allows it to leverage OFDM radio technology, including MU-MIMO, across multiple spectrum bands. The company plans to launch its first beta in the greater Boston area this summer.

The company also developed the Starry Station, an 802.11ac ambient touchscreen Wi-Fi station with a dual radio that is 802.15 ready for future Internet of Things features and the ability to connect a range of devices in the home or business. It retails for $349.99 and was set to start shipping this month. It's designed to take the guesswork out of troubleshooting: "'Try unplugging the router,' said no Starry user ever," the company says on its website.

Lipowski is among the speakers scheduled to present at the FCC's millimeter wave workshop Thursday on a panel exploring services and deployment of next-generation wireless technologies.

Last month, the company obtained permission from the FCC to conduct trials under the call sign WI2XEB in 13 markets across the country. The authorization is for tests in the 38 GHz band and expires in two years.

Kanojia told FierceWirelessTech back in January that the company sees great promise in the millimeter wave spectrum but its focus is not on mobility. "Our focus is fixed," he said, adding that mobility is a massive challenge that will get done at some point but probably not in this decade.

For more:
- see this press release
- see this Mashable article
- see this Multichannel News article

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