Nov 20, 2019

Starry releases broadband investment guide for cities

Kim Hart, author of Cities

Starry "beam" used to transmit fixed wireless broadband service to buildings. Photo: Starry

Upstart internet provider Starry is trying to help small- and medium-sized cities accelerate investment in high-speed internet.

Why it matters: When it comes to fast, reliable broadband, installing fiber in the ground is the gold standard.

  • But fiber is too expensive for a lot of towns. Starry and others are offering "fixed wireless" service as an alternative that is cheaper and faster to deploy. It's also a potential competitor to incumbent broadband providers.

Driving the news: A the National League of Cities' City Summit this week, Starry is releasing a "toolkit" designed to be a guide for cities looking to partner with competitive broadband providers to expand access.

How it works: Fixed wireless bases beam internet signals to receivers located in homes and offices, where the majority of traffic is consumed. It's typically used in rural areas where robust fiber networks are not practical.

  • Windstream, like Starry, is using millimeter wave spectrum recently auctioned by the FCC to provide fixed wireless in mid-sized markets.
  • Wireless internet service providers (or WISPS) often use the technology to connect smaller communities.
  • Verizon is using its own fixed wireless approach to roll out 5G in some areas.
  • Starry operates in Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., and now has spectrum licenses to cover cities in more than 20 states.

A lot of mid-sized cities have hoped that a provider will fund the build-out of broadband throughout a market.

  • "But the moment it doesn't work from a balance sheet perspective, it falls apart," said Starry CEO Chet Kanojia. "What we've done is figured out the pieces of the pie to invest and make the model work."
  • Fixed wireless may not be whole solution, but it can fill last-mile gaps or unserved areas in coordination with other providers and technologies, Kanojia said.

The bottom line: Expanding broadband with wireless technology is only one piece of the puzzle, as all wireless networks including 5G need to connect to fiber infrastructure.

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.