Skywire Networks says it will use the $23 million it recently secured in financing from Metropolitan Partners Group to significantly scale its New York City “lit” building footprint and its sales, marketing and operating organizations.
The company says it currently owns one of the largest fixed wireless broadband networks in New York City, with more than 400 lit buildings, more than 30 hubs and a near-net footprint of 25,000 commercial buildings.
According to Alan Levy, co-founder and CEO of Skywire Networks, the financing further validates the massive opportunity and significant broadband connectivity problem that exists with commercial buildings throughout most of New York City. Unless your office is in a Class A commercial building in midtown or the Financial District, it's likely that your building does not have adequate broadband connectivity to manage a business, he said.
Many people outside of New York City are surprised about the lack of adequate broadband in areas of the city; the people who are not surprised are the ones living or working outside midtown or downtown who are struggling with poor service, Levy said.
Skywire uses what’s called lightly licensed 70-80 GHz spectrum for the fixed wireless service; most of what it does is point to point but it does some point to multipoint, Levy told FierceWirelessTech. It has hubs that extend into the boroughs and uses microwave radios with up to five 9s reliability within a mile of each of the hub locations; each hub could have hundreds if not thousands of buildings within line of sight. “It’s very extensive reach that we have built so far,” he said.
The financing will help the company connect even more buildings with fixed wireless broadband in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. Its primary competition is Verizon copper and best-effort cable, he said. It’s not competing with the likes of Zayo or Level 3 because generally they’ve already lit the buildings they’re going to connect.
Skywire Networks partners with commercial building owners throughout New York City and especially the buildings located outside midtown and downtown Manhattan. The cost of digging up the streets and laying fiber in New York City is impractical and largely uneconomical, Levy notes. So far, the company is focused on New York, but its model could apply to other cities like Chicago or Boston that have a lot of historical buildings and high density.