Fixed Wireless Carrier to Enhance Telecom Services

BELLEVUE, WASH. (04/27/2000) - One of the country's emerging fixed-wireless local-loop carriers is speeding up changes it plans for the way it reaches users because its key investor is buying a Bell carrier.

Advanced Radio Telecom (ART) is accelerating its plan to exit the business of selling fixed-wireless connections directly to business users. Instead, it will offer its 38-GHz broadband connections to ISPs and other service providers that could turn around and provide them to enterprises.

The reason for the urgency: 19% of ART's stock is held by Qwest Communications Inc., which is in the process of buying US West, a carrier that is currently barred from carrying long-distance traffic. The purchase would technically make ART an affiliate of US West, meaning it would fall under the same long-distance restrictions.

In a document submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, Qwest revealed that ART intends to terminate service to 300 subscribers in the US West region - the part of the country where most of ART's networks are located. The subscribers receive Internet access service over ART's fixed-wireless connections.

Robert McCambridge, chief operating officer of ART, says the company had already been planning to go to a wholesale model in which ISPs, application service providers and others supplemented the fiber and copper loops at their disposal with fixed-wireless links to buildings.

The intent to move to wholesale was part of a June 1999 restructuring in which investors refinanced ART, McCambridge says. The company is building a system of metropolitan-area links based on broadband wireless local-loop connections connecting to Cisco gigabit routers for high-speed Internet access and other services.

As opposed to some other fixed-wireless providers, which provide only ISDN or slightly higher links, ART now will provide DS-3 or OC-3 links to the carriers.

Technically, the carriers could then multiplex down their connections to individual companies in, for example, an office building - to make them all fixed-wireless local-access users to a WAN.

But for ART's existing users, the migration is not likely to work out quite like that. Instead, McCambridge says, they are likely to migrate to digital subscriber line (DSL) providers.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

More about Federal Communications CommissionMultiplexQwestQwest Communications

Show Comments