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Starry Internet and Marvell pave the way for cheaper broadband

The startup Starry Internet is teaming up with Wi-Fi chip maker Marvell to offer internet service providers access to its next generation 5G wireless technology and the latest generation of Wi-Fi in hopes that consumers will soon have more broadband choices.

BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 17: A Starry point wireless router that would serve local wifi for the new high-speed wireless broadband service is seen outside of the window at Starry Internet in Boston on Nov.

17, 2016. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Boston Globe

The companies announced a partnership Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that will offer service providers looking to compete against big cable and phone companies in the broadband market a”blueprint” or reference design to combine Starry’s pre-standard 5G fixed wireless technology with Marvell’s 802.11ax Wi-Fi technology. Starry’s technology, announced two years ago at CES, uses millimeter frequencies to create point-to-point wireless connections that can deliver gigabit speed internet connections to homes and buildings. The company has already been delivering a low-cost broadband service in Boston, where it’s headquartered, and plans to expand the service to other cities like Washington, DC and Los Angeles.

Through its partnership with Marvell, which is making chips using the latest generation of Wi-Fi known as 802.11ax, it now plans to offer its technology to other service providers looking to build their own networks to compete against big broadband companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon. The new 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard offers internet speeds that are four to 10 times faster than existing Wi-Fi.

Combining the use of these technologies will allow new entrants to deploy gigabit speed wireless connections faster and at a lower cost, according to executives from the companies. The result for consumers around the US and throughout the world could be more choices for broadband at lower prices.

This is a big deal in the US where many Americans only have one or two choices in broadband provider. And in other parts of the world and even in some rural areas of the US, it could mean the first ever high-speed broadband deployments. Chet Kanojia, CEO and co-founder of Starry, said it’s a “win-win” for broadband competitors and consumers.

“When we started Starry, our goal from the beginning was to drive down the cost of deploying broadband, from the cost of equipment to speed of deployment,” he said in a statement. “The barrier to entry in the market today – whether domestic or global – is cost.

That’s why you see so few people willing to challenge incumbent monopolies.” Starry currently passes more than 240,000 homes in the Boston area. It hasn’t disclosed how many of those homes are actual customers.

It’s raised more than £63 million in funding.

The company released its Starry Wi-Fi router in 2016.

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