Multiband, a residential provider of voice and data systems, said this week that it plans to deliver 45-Mbit services to homes and condominiums in a ritzy Southern California suburb.
While the company's plan looks amazingly affordable — 45-megabit downstream and upstream connections, as little as one per building, for $24.95 to $34.95 per month — company executives also said they're considering a tiered pricing model to increase their revenue.
For now, about 2,500 condos and apartments within the small but pricey seaside resort town of Marina del Rey, Calif., will receive the new service, Multiband said.
The company uses a microwave dish receiver mounted on each building, which can be connected to more traditional Ethernet cabling to route the high-speed Internet service to invididual units, executives said.
The broadband access will be offered as an adjunct to DirectTV satellite service, which Multiband also provides as a bundled service.
High-speed Internet has traditionally been the province of DSL and cable, with 8-, 16-, and even 24-Mbit services rolling out across the U.S. and Europe using high-speed ADSL2+ connections.
More recently, fiber-to-the-home projects by Verizon and others have allowed even higher-speed connections, for a price.
Verizon's fastest service offers 30-Mbits/s downstream connections, but for prices that range between $179.95 and $199.95 per month.
Typically, 45-Mbit services are offered to businesses as shared bandwidth, that tens or even hundreds of employees can share.
The discounted price comes from Multiband owning its own bandwidth, rather than buying T1 connections from bandwidth aggregators, which in turn resell them to ISPs, according to Morrie Eisenman, the western regional manager for Multiband.
"We're going to control it; in some cases, how should I say, we're going to let you step up to 45 Mbits," Eisenman said. "The fact is, each building can be treated as a separate business model. It's our bandwidth to sell."
Buying bandwidth from an aggregator would have pushed the comparable price up dramatically higher, Eisenman said.
With over-the-air transmission methods like satellite or microwave, latencies — the delay from the signal as it moves through the air — can drag down the average throughput.
However, microwave return channels are also used by business ISPs like Libera, as a short-range line-of-sight backbone.
"The nice thing, is we can pick out a receiving facility on top of an office building and bring it [the Internet connection] right downstairs," Eisenman said.
Eisenman, a former Hollywood producer with credits such as the 1997 gangster flick "Suicide Kings," said he became involved with Multiband after trying to get a DirectTV service installed at his own condominium.
A self-described techie, Eisenman said he used his knowledge of high-value properties to land the position at Multiband after Hollywood went corporate, he said.
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