As WiMAX becomes more portable, businesses and consumers will use the technology for more applications, like VoIP and video, as they are with Wi-Fi today. You can think of WiMAX as Wi-Fi that covers several miles instead of hundreds of feet.

WiMax Developments

Jeff Thompson | Towerstream

HomeToys Interview
Jeff Thompson of Towerstream

As WiMAX becomes more portable, businesses and consumers will use the technology for more applications, like VoIP and video, as they are with Wi-Fi today.  You can think of WiMAX as Wi-Fi that covers several miles instead of hundreds of feet. 


1.    Who is Towerstream? What do you do?

Towerstream (OTCBB: TWER.OB) is a leading fixed WiMAX service provider that delivers high-speed Internet access to businesses in the U.S.  So far, we have established networks in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, the greater Boston area, Providence and Newport, R.I., and most recently Miami. 

Towerstream was also the first carrier selected to join the WiMAX Forum, an organization dedicated to certifying the interoperability of WiMAX products.

2. Can you briefly explain what WiMAX is and why it is important to business users?

In a nutshell, WiMAX (which stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a standards-based wireless broadband technology that offers users an alternative to cable and DSL.  It's a similar technology to Wi-Fi, except WiMAX provides the wireless broadband service over a much greater distance - typically 10 miles, versus the 150-300 feet Wi-Fi.

WiMAX is governed by IEEE 802.16, a standard established by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  The WiMAX Forum assists to ensure compliance to the standard and interoperability between vendors. 

3. What makes WiMAX better than traditional wired broadband solutions?

The technology offers businesses more speed, bandwidth and reliability, at a lower cost, than traditional broadband solutions (DSL, cable, Wi-Fi, etc.)

4. Lots of companies, Sprint, Clearwire, etc, are getting involved in WiMAX. What makes Towerstream different?

While Sprint and Clearwire focus in the consumer space, Towerstream delivers its services exclusively to businesses. 

5. You recently went public through a reverse merger, which raised $14.9 million. What do you plan to do with that money?

We are in the process of increasing our sales force and expanding marketing initiatives.  This will help us grow our customer base and expand our service into more major metropolitan markets.  We recently hired a new VP of Sales, Mel Yarbrough, to spearhead the sales team growth, which will help expand Towerstream's reach in existing and future markets.

6. And what are the company's plans for the next year?  

In addition to growing our sales force and marketing program, we plan to expand into at least two additional markets per year.  This year, we've already announced our expansion into Seattle, through the acquisition of Speakeasy's network, and Miami. 

7. Who are your target customers? What areas do you provide service?

We service small and medium-sized businesses in the eight markets we currently operate in: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, the greater Boston, Miami, and Providence and Newport, R.I.

8. What makes you different from the T1 offerings of the phone companies?

As I mentioned, Towerstream's service is faster and offers a higher quality of service (QoS) to business users.  And because we own our network and therefore not tied to the phone company (or their wires), we can save businesses substantial amounts of money.  With Towerstream, customers have access to a wider variety of features as well, including bandwidth on demand, a simple installation process and a money back guarantee. 

In addition, because we don't have to deal with wires or phone companies, we can get a customer up and running in 48 hours or less.

9. What is Towerstream's HiVi T1+ product?

High-Availability T1+ (HI-VI T1+) provides businesses with guaranteed 99.999% availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.  Customers who purchase the Hi-Vi T1+ product are assured their service will have less than a minute of downtime per month.  

Towerstream is able to offer the Hi-Vi T1+ by providing customers with two separate T1 (WiMAX) connections, each pointing at different base stations around the given city. By doing this, Towerstream provides true last mile redundancy to its customers in need of a reliable broadband service. This combined with Towerstream's wireless SONET ring in the sky gives customers a complete wireless broadband solution.

10. Looking further down the road ... how do you see the future of broadband network technology advancing to meet the needs of both business and consumers?

As WiMAX becomes more portable, businesses and consumers will use the technology for more applications, like VoIP and video, as they are with Wi-Fi today.  You can think of WiMAX as Wi-Fi that covers several miles instead of hundreds of feet. 

Jeff Thompson Founder, CEO, President of Towerstream

Jeff Thompson is the co-founder and the technology/operations leader of Towerstream. Thompson has created a new model for delivering reliable bandwidth to the commercial market. By leveraging second-generation multipoint fixed wireless technology, Towerstream has built an expandable network that is 99.99% reliable. Thompson represents Towerstream in the WiMAX Forum. He is frequently quoted in media because of his expertise in WiMAX, Fixed Wireless, and 802.16.

Prior to founding Towerstream, Thompson was founder and Vice President of Operations of eFortress, a privately held ISP.

He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from UMASS.


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