A new startup is launching a product that promises to bring superfast, wireless internet to your home.
Starry, a company founded by the former CEO of the streaming TV service Aereo, Chet Kanojia, will sell wireless equipment that delivers wireless internet speeds up to 1 gigabit using a technology called a "millimeter wave band active phased array."
The service will be available in Boston this summer and expand to more cities after that.
Starry claims that customers will be able to install the wireless equipment in their home and use it like a normal WiFi router. There's no need for a professional installation like with traditional, wired broadband.
Gigabit broadband is much faster than the broadband you're used to. It means you get download speeds of 1 gigabit per second, which is fast enough to download a two-hour movie in a just a few seconds.
You install a receiver called a Starry Point in your window, sort of like an air conditioning unit. It looks like a fancy antenna:
Tim Stenovec/Tech Insider
You can then connect your normal WiFi router to that antenna with a standard ethernet cable.
Starry also makes a $349 router called the Starry Station, which has a 3.8-inch touchscreen and can control smart appliances in your home in addition to delivering wireless internet. You'll also have to install a receiver outside your home.
Starry did not say how much the internet service will cost, but a spokesperson told Tech Insider it would be noticeably cheaper than regular wired broadband. There also won't be data caps like you get with traditional wireless networks, so you can use as much data as you want for a fixed cost.
The Android-powered Starry Station's screen displays the WiFi name and password, which makes it easier for people to hop on your home's network. It can also display how fast your connections is, where the connected devices in your home are, and block content with parental controls. The station has built-in customer service button that you tap when you need help. A service representative will call you in five minutes.
You'll be able to reserve the Starry Station on February 5 through starry.com.
So, on paper, this sounds pretty neat. But it all depends on the millimeter wave band technology Starry runs on. Millimeter wave band uses high frequency radio waves to deliver data. But it sounds like Starry will have to install a lot of stations that transmit millimeter wave bands in the cities it operates. We won't know how well it works until the service goes live this Sunday.
Kanojia, Starry's CEO, is best known for his run as the CEO of Aereo, a startup that let you stream live network television over the internet for $8 per month. Aereo invented tiny antennas that pulled network TV from the airwaves and distributed the content online.
But the networks sued Aereo, claiming the company was acting like a cable network and distributing their content without paying licensing fees. Aereo argued it didn't need to pay those fees because it assigned an antenna to each of its customers.
The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and the networks won. Aereo was forced to shut down.
Starry is Kanojia's next ambitious project. If it works as advertised, it has the potential to finally give people more options for broadband than they currently have. Many, if not most places, only have one option for broadband internet.
Starry launched Wednesday at an event in New York. You can read the company's press release below:
The team from Project Decibel, Inc., today announced the launch of Starry, Inc. , a Boston- and New York-based technology company focused on revolutionizing how consumers access and connect to the internet. Starry’s mission is to connect people and things, wirelessly, seamlessly and effortlessly with beautifully designed products and platforms. The company is re-imagining broadband access by developing an eco-system of products and services designed to simplify and improve your connected life.
Starry has developed and is deploying the world’s first millimeter wave band active phased array technology for consumer internet communications, using that technology as a platform for rolling out a nationwide fixed wireless broadband network capable of delivering internet speeds of up to one gigabit, wirelessly to the home. Using a self-installation system, consumers will be able to buy Starry products directly and connect to the internet in minutes, without onerous contracts, data caps or having to wait for an installer.
Additionally, the company unveiled Starry Station, the world’s first ambient touchscreen Wi-Fi station, a beautifully designed smart home internet and Wi-Fi station that provides users with a window into their home’s internet health and device connectivity, all through an interactive 3.8” capacitive touchscreen. Starry’s launch was announced today by founder and CEO, Chaitanya “Chet” Kanojia at the Helen Mills Event Space in Manhattan.
“The future of connectivity is wireless and having simple, affordable access to an internet connection is imperative for every household and business,” said Kanojia. “But, far too many people don’t have a choice in how they access that connection. We set out to build an innovative alternative to wired broadband using millimeter waves and proprietary technology to deliver ultra high speed broadband to your home, wirelessly. With Starry’s technology, we can deploy and scale faster than traditional wired networks – at a fraction of the cost. This is how the networks of the future will be built around the globe.”
With Starry Internet, the company is pioneering the use of millimeter waves as an alternative to fixed wireline broadband. Using the world’s first millimeter wave active phased array for consumer internet communications, Starry is capable today of achieving speeds of up to a gigabit of internet service, wirelessly, with deployment costs that are a fraction of the cost of deploying traditional wired broadband.
By using OFDM modulation coupled with MIMO as a foundation, along with active phased array RF front ends, Starry’s technological architecture enables it to leverage OFDM radio technology, including MU-MIMO, in a dense architecture across multiple licensed spectrum bands, including ultra high frequency millimeter waves, to deliver high speed broadband to your home or business through a self-installed home receiver. There will be absolutely no data caps with Starry Internet.
Starry Internet will launch its first beta in the Greater Boston area in the summer of 2016. Additional cities will be announced throughout the year.
With Starry Station, the company is rewriting the book on Wi-Fi routers. With its distinct design and touchscreen display, Starry makes your router the centerpiece of your home to improve RF performance and usability by providing users a window into their internet connection.
Loaded with features including Starry’s internet Health Score, full internet health monitoring system and built-in persistent auto-speed test, Activity Map and Device Finder, ScreenTime parental controls, and customer support assistance available at a tap, Starry Station is 802.11ac, built with a dual radio that is 802.15 ready for future IoT features and has the ability to support a wide range of connected devices in your home or business. With Starry Station, users have the ability to understand, at a glance, how their internet and Wi-Fi connections are performing at all times.
Starry Station will retail at $349.99 and people will be able to reserve at Starry.com until February 5. After February 5, Starry Station will be available for sale on Starry.com and pre-order on Amazon Launchpad , Amazon’s innovative program for startups. All orders will begin shipping in March 2016.
Founded by Chet Kanojia and the elite team of engineers that helped create Aereo, Starry is backed by a group of premier investors including FirstMark Capital, Tiger Global, IAC, KKR, HLVP and Quantum Strategic Partners.