Kanojia's Starry bursts out of stealth with $350 receiver and new wireless web technology

Chet Kanojia brought his Project Decibel out of stealth with the announcement of Starry, a wireless Internet provider that may make waves in mobile.

Starry will sell $350 receivers users can install in their homes as an alternative to fixed-line broadband services from providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The company didn't disclose subscription pricing but said its service won't have data caps or contracts.

The device, dubbed Starry Station, was unveiled at a media event in New York today. The company's Wi-Fi-capable base station has a 3.8-inch touchscreen and will go on sale next month and begin shipping in March.

Starry will launch in Boston this summer before rolling out to other markets later in the year. Kanojia is best known for founding Aereo, a now-defunct provider of over-the-air video.

"The future of connectivity is wireless and having simple, affordable access to an Internet connection is imperative for every household and business," Kanojia said in a prepared statement. "But, far too many people don't have a choice in how they access that connection…. With Starry's technology, we can deploy and scale faster than traditional wired networks -- at a fraction of the cost."

The company claims it provides an alternative to fixed-line broadband through "the world's first millimeter wave active phased array." It uses OFDM modulation coupled with MIMO as a foundation and can achieve data speeds of up to a gigabit.

Starry Station uses 802.11ac Wi-Fi and includes a dual radio for 802.15 "ready for future IoT features," the company said.

Source: Starry

If Starry's claims are accurate, the company poses a clear threat to major fixed-line providers of Internet and TV services. But the upstart could also potentially launch a disruptive wireless service that depends heavily on Wi-Fi, perhaps using accessing cellular networks only when necessary.

Google is experimenting with a similar model with its Project Fi, and a handful of MVNOs such as FreedomPop are also pursuing Wi-Fi first strategies. None of these players has been substantially disruptive for legacy wireless carriers, but Starry is clearly a player mobile network operators will be watching carefully.

For more:
- see Starry's press release

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