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Starry Wins 24 GHz Spectrum to Launch 200/200 Mbps Unlimited Wireless in 25 States

Starry, Inc., a fixed wireless internet provider, this week announced it has won 104 licenses in the FCC’s recent spectrum auction, allowing the company to launch service to over 40 million people in 25 states, potentially covering more than 25% of all U.S. households.

“We are excited to take this important next step, augmenting our shared spectrum strategy with exclusively licensed spectrum,” said Starry CEO and co-founder Chet Kanojia. “This gives us the ability to provide access to unlimited, affordable, high quality internet access. We built our technology to be agile and operate across a range of frequencies, so that we could take advantage of opportunities like this to expand and grow our network.”

Starry’s internet service advertises 200/200 Mbps speed without data caps for a flat $50 a month, equipment included. The service will now also use licensed frequencies in the 24 GHz band and reach customers over a point-to-multipoint network that serves multi-dwelling residential units primarily in dense urban areas, but can affordably service other areas with a significant population density.

Starry claims to offer a simple, no bundles, no-long-term contract, no-data caps, no-hidden fees plan of $50 per month, and is up and running in parts of Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Denver. Customers give Starry a rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 stars in over 100 Google reviews.

Customers like Raphael Peña are fans.

“It’s awesome so far, 300 Mbps down and about the same up,” Pena writes. “The price is right and I can play Battlefield V or any other game with no lag. I just wish you could get this for homes but I’m loving it in my apartment.”

So far, Starry is focused on serving multi-dwelling units like apartments and condos in downtown areas that are increasingly attractive to younger residents. The technology can be extended to serve other customers at an average cost of around $20 per residence. Most of their customers are young cord-cutters or cable-nevers, and Starry only sells internet service, skipping video and phone service. Starry works closely with real estate developers and owners to deploy Starry internet service, sometimes as an amenity to attract new renters and keep current ones happy.

With the latest spectrum acquisition, Starry plans to expand service in phases, starting with Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, Detroit, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Miami, Memphis, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Manchester, N.H., Portland, Ore., and Sioux Falls, S.D. But the company also plans to reach cities in the 25 states where it now holds licensed spectrum. How fast it reaches these cities will depend on available funding and subscriber interest:

Starry’s Spectrum Licenses Cover These Communities

State Cities
Alabama Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile
Arizona Tucson
Arkansas Little Rock
Colorado Colorado Springs, Fort Collins
Florida Jacksonville, Tallahassee
Idaho Boise City
Illinois Decatur
Indiana South Bend, Fort Wayne, Bloomington
Kansas Wichita
Kentucky Louisville
Ohio Cleveland, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton, Columbus
Massachusetts Springfield
Mississippi Jackson
Nevada Las Vegas, Reno
New Mexico Albuquerque
New York Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester
North Carolina Fayetteville, Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh
Louisiana Baton Rouge, New Orleans
Pennsylvania Harrisburg
South Carolina Charleston
Tennessee Nashville, Chattanooga, Memphis
Texas San Antonio, Brownsville, Lubbock, El Paso
Virginia Virginia Beach
Washington Spokane
Wisconsin Milwaukee, Madison
Courtesy of: Starry.com

Light Reading’s Mike Dano discussed how to build an affordable fixed 5G internet service with Alex Moulle-Berteaux, chief operating officer for Starry, at the Big 5G Event in Denver on May 8, 2019. (16:41)

Currently there are 6 comments on this Article:

  1. Matt says:

    Another option for the urban areas. Still nothing for the 25 million rural Americans currently without broadband. If internet service is not going to be considered a utility by the government, the broadband divide will never close. Amazing to me that we live in a country so backward.

    Cities are enjoying a wave of new ISPs competing with each other to offer 1 gig download speed. Meanwhile, very little new development in the rural areas.

    The broadband news in 2019 is the same as it was in 2018 and 2017 and 2016 and 2015. Nothing changes.

  2. Willie says:

    I’m still waiting for my local phone company, Ontario and Trumansburg Telephone Company, to make 1 gigabit/1gigabit Internet available in my area, which is rural upstate New York. Supposedly some time later this Summer or Fall. New York State granted them money to do this upgrade.Would the phone company had done this without the State’s money? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’m thinking probably no.

  3. Matt says:

    I’m certain they would not do it, Willie. The companies can’t make a return throwing money into rural broadband. I don’t blame the companies themselves. My resentment is squarely aimed at the governments which use tax monies from you and me to give cities like Albany and Syracuse a 10th and 11th choice for broadband service.

    I have no choice.

    Fine, then NYS can give me a small tax cut, since I gain nothing from these broadband investments. THAT’S the absurdity of the American system of taxation and governance. I am not represented. Not in any way, shape or form.

  4. John says:

    @Matt: Another question to ask, why is the FCC granting these licenses, without any provision for rural communities? You would think that would be the natural course of action, but I think it goes much deeper than that. Rural telcos have a strong lobby presence and any threat to their small town monopolies will be protected vigorously. If OneWeb and StarLink are successful, these tiny monopolies will be crushed by suitcase sized satellites, beaming gigabit internet to every last one of their customers homes.

  5. Matt says:

    @John

    No doubt about it going much deeper. I know in my town up near the Canadian border, there’s a powerful local family that owns a small ISP with astronomical rates for customers and a $500 installation fee for wireless broadband. Most folks have Spectrum, but some people use this small company. At least two times other larger wireless broadband ISPs have tried to come into town and then had plans “fall through.” I am certain this family uses their political clout to squash the potential competitors. And I would imagine this same scenario plays out in small towns all over the country.

    All the more reason it needs to be regulated as a utility. People that want broadband access should have access. Period. There’s really no debate anymore. This current path will never close the rural broadband gap.

  6. Ian Littman says:

    The spectrum Starry has won’t really work for rural broadband; service only covers a couple miles from the access point. You need something < 6 GHz for anything outside urban areas. Which is why the fixed wireless providions in the Sprint/TMo merger are so incredibly important; BRS/EBS spectrum should be used basically exclusively for home broadband in rural areas post-merger; TMo has enough spectrum in AWS/PCS/700/600 to cover mobile use cases. In cities, BRS/EBS for mobile makes perfect sense, as there are more competitors for fixed broadband (e.g. Starry) and you may need the capacity. And you can reasonably put cell sites close enough together to have a reasonable mobile experience, vs. having islands of coverage in a sea of slower connectivity.

    Getting back to Starry, I find it odd that they opted into competing with EPB in Chattanooga, but $50 for 200M symmetric is cheaper than $58 for 100M symmetric so maybe they can make a go of it. And in San Antonio you have Grande and maybe Google Fiber. But there are plenty of other locations in their spectrum acquisition list where they’ll be competing with the cable company…and that’s basically it…over most of the service area. $50 for 200M symmetric will force cablecos to be competitive anywhere Starry serves, just like Spectrum is anywhere GFiber operates here.

    If Starry was available here I’d switch off of my current service…the wireless tech they’re using should provide better latency/jitter, and I’ll trade an extra 160 Mbps of upload speed for 700 Mbps of mostly-unused download speed…and a $60+ price difference per month.







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