Nextlink reborn as broadband wireless operator

In a move that may sound familiar to some, XO Holdings Inc. launched on Monday a subsidiary called Nextlink that uses a new broadband fixed wireless network to offer telecommunications services to businesses and other operators in the U.S.

Don't be surprised if the news rings a bell. XO Communications LLC itself was once called Nextlink, just before XO first tried and then failed to launch a similar type of broadband wireless network. XO Holdings is a holding company for XO Communications and now Nextlink.

Nextlink will use wireless licenses, acquired by the original Nextlink in 1998, in what's known as the LMDS (local multipoint distribution system) spectrum. The network, in competition with fiber connections, will deliver high-speed Internet services to businesses. Nextlink said it will target enterprises as well as other telecom providers such as mobile operators that require high-speed backhaul connections as part of their networks.

Nextlink is currently offering service to a mobile operator in Florida and is initially launching service in Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, Washington, D.C. and Tampa, Florida. The company's wireless licenses cover more than 70 markets and other cities will follow over the next two years, Nextlink said.

Nextlink says it will use network equipment from Hughes Network Systems LLC. The network will be made up of wireless hubs that communicate via line-of-sight to terminals at a customer's site.

The original Nextlink was among a handful of companies that bid in an auction for the rights to use the LMDS spectrum to launch similar new broadband wireless networks. The companies consolidated and then began running into problems with the available network equipment, which didn't work as expected. Nextlink changed its name to XO Communications and then, along with most of the other winners of the LMDS licenses, subsequently filed for bankruptcy protection. XO Communications has always offered services over its wireline network.

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