December 07, 2004, 11:42 AM — We love fiber because we love that bandwidth. We hate fiber because we can't get permission to tear up the street to install it or afford fiber capacity that's available.
How about "virtual" fiber? That's how the GigaBeam Corp. describes their data links. Hype? I don't think so, not when they guarantee 99.999 percent uptime in links up to one mile at speeds of 1G-byte today and 10G-bytes in a year or so.
Louis Slaughter, Chairman, CEO, and co-founder of GigaBeam describes the technology as a point-to-point wireless system using very high radio frequency (71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz) to transmit at gigabits per second. How fast is that? "A ninety minute movie will download in one second."
Credit Slaughter with the expertise to find the perfect frequency to cut through weather ("we use specially designed antennas to extend our distance to a mile even during heavy rain") and the perseverance to convince the FCC the spectrum should be licensed and controlled (but not too tightly). Slaughter also had the foresight to use focused radio beams rather than spread spectrum broadcasts in order to allow a nearly infinite number of point-to-point connections within a city.
Back in September, I mentioned a fascinating new interconnection facility called The Hub and their innovative technology support. GigaBeam uses The Hub to support their first commercial virtual fiber installation for testing and production. Hey, New Yorkers, tired of your ILEC? GigaBeam can bypass the NYC ILEC and connect over the river to New Jersey.
Slaughter believes GigaBeam will be disbelieved, cursed, then accepted by carriers (but customers are signing up already). His biggest weapon? Pricing. When up and rolling, GigaBeam will provide a Mbps for $1 to $3 per month. Compare that to the price of a T1 (1.5M-bits/per sec.) at $500-$1000 per month today in New York City. $5 or so versus $500-$1000? That, my friends, is disruptive pricing.
GigaBeam is a new company with a new technology, and bad things can happen to struggling young companies. But if your company wants more bandwidth for less money, cross your fingers GigaBeam succeeds and soon knocks on your door offering their high speed connections.