BendBroadband, one of the first small cable companies to deploy LTE to provide fixed wireless voice and broadband service, plans to discontinue the service by mid-year.
“The industry has changed since we purchased the spectrum,” says the Oregon-based company in an FAQ section on its website. “BendBroadband was one of many cable companies to buy wireless spectrum about five years ago. We were the only company however to launch a service for customers. Other operators have since sold their spectrum. So although our technology is strong, the cost and investments required to continue to build the service without other cable companies to partner with is too high. We have decided to sell our spectrum so that we can focus on our core business areas.”
The fixed wireless broadband offering will be discontinued no later than July 25, 2014.
BendBroadband did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Telecompetitor requesting additional information about the decision. The website also notes that the company has signed an agreement with a third-party to acquire the spectrum and that the deal has received FCC approval but does not reveal the name of the purchaser.
In part of its serving area, BendBroadband uses landline infrastructure to deliver triple play services, but for several years has used fixed wireless technology to serve customers on the periphery of its landline footprint. Initially the company used HSPA+ technology but turned up LTE in 2011.
About 2,000 customers will be impacted by the service phase-out, according to the BendBroadband website. The company said it will provide customers with information about alternative service providers.
A number of small rural telcos have deployed fixed LTE broadband and Verizon uses the technology to support its HomeFusion offering.
Verizon undoubtedly has greater economies of scale than BendBroadband has experienced. But the economics for small telcos would seem to be similar to those of BendBroadband.