Arraycomm secures new funding

Arraycomm secures new funding

In overseas news, ArrayComm has secured an additional US$34 million in funding to help with the development of its planned high-speed wireless data network, company officials announced last week.

The mezzanine round of funding came from a group of investment firms led by Nomura International PLC, Cornerstone Equity Investors LLC and American Century, the officials said.

Arraycomm has developed an innovative wireless technology called iBurst, which it says can be used to build wireless networks that let users download data at 1M bit per second or more. That compares favorably with terrestrial cable and DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) networks available today and would be fast enough to support the delivery of full-motion video as well as large data files and other content. Company officials say iBurst will deliver higher throughput than third-generation (3G) mobile-phone networks under most conditions.iBurst has yet to be tested in the real world, yet Arraycomm has attracted the attention of industry players as large as Sony, which in April said it would invest $8 million in the California-based company.

The latest round of funding brings to $US89 million the amount of equity financing that Arraycomm has secured so far, said Jeff Schwartz, director of new business development for Arraycomm.

The company also recently was granted approval from the US Federal Trade Commission to begin a commercial trial of iBurst in San Diego in mid-2001. Arraycomm has said it hopes to roll out its network nationwide in the US in 2002, working in conjunction with a major network operator.

The company is just six to 12 weeks away from announcing who that network operator will be, Schwartz said. Without being specific, he said Arraycomm is in talks with carriers that operate their own fibre-optic networks, rather than carriers who sell wireless services directly to end users.

WorldCom, Level 3 Comm-unications, Qwest Communications International and PSINet are some of the largest operators of fibre-optic networks in the US, observers noted. Schwartz declined to comment.

Also in the next six to 12 weeks, Arraycomm will announce a manufacturer that has agreed to build base stations for the iBurst network, Schwartz

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