XO subsidiary looks for federal market

XO Holdings, through a new subsidiary called Nextlink, is offering broadband wireless service to government agencies, telecommunications providers and other businesses.

Nextlink has licensed wireless spectrum covering 75 major U.S. markets and is positioning broadband wireless as an alternative to traditional copper wiring.

Despite the efforts of some telecom providers, “it’s going to be years and years and years before fiber- [optic cabling] becomes a replacement for copper," said John Grady, director of marketing at Nextlink. Fewer than 20 percent of broadband users have a direct connection to a fiber-optic line, he said, meaning copper carries the signal at least part of the way.

Cisco Systems and Hughes Network Systems are Nextlink's wireless equipment suppliers, Grady added.

The service has some limitations. The location served must be near a Nextlink hub, and within its line of sight. For locations within 7 miles, however, the company says it can provide wireless broadband with a speed as high as 622 megabits/sec.

Washington, D.C.; Dallas; Los Angeles; Miami; San Diego; and Tampa, Fla., are the first cities to get the service, with other major markets planned for launches in the next two years, according to the company.

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