Fixed wireless market waking up

Fixed broadband wireless service for business has been a sleepy technology for the past decade, but it’s about to wake up.

TeraGo Networks of Thornhill, Ont., raised $50 million when it was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. That money will help TeraGo expand across the country, according to a company spokesman.

Right after the listing it added service to southern Ontario’s high-tech triangle of Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, bringing to 31 the number of communities it serves.

Meanwhile, in May, Craig Wireless, owned by the wealthy Craig family of Winnipeg, said it plans to raise $35 million through a proposed reverse takeover of a company owned by a private equity firm listed on the TSX venture exchange.

As a result, TeraGo, which operates in five provinces, could face a direct challenge from Craig, which is concentrated in lower B.C. and Manitoba, with footholds in Greece and Palm Springs, Calif.

A number of private companies also offer fixed wireless broadband across the country, mainly to small communities which can’t get DSL or cable Internet service. These include RipNET, which sells DSL and fixed broadband in the Brockville-Kingston, Ont, area, and ABC Communications, which covers central B.C.

Fixed broadband, which operates on licensed spectrum, has barely made a dent among business buyers of high-speed service.

According to a recent survey of broadband buying of 312 small and mid-sized Canadian organizations by the Yankee Group, only five per cent of mid-market respondents, four per cent of small companies and six per cent of very small companies were using fixed wireless technology.

“To date it’s been a fairly niche area,” said Tony

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