Boston Launch News Startups

Starry: A new ISP from Aereo founder

Over the past few years, there was no more tragic a startup than Aereo. The company built one of the most novel products that we have seen in some time. The problem was, they were competing directly with the massive cable and satellite television companies. In a nutshell, “Aereo collect[ed] free, over-the-air television signals in all the major markets – currently New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, Baltimore, San Antonio, and Denver – and transmits these signals to a user’s cloud DVR.”1 Ultimately, the United States Supreme Court found that Aereo was in violation of the The Copyright Act of 1976, and its service was declared illegal.2

Though Aereo was forced to shut down, its founder is back with a new startup, Starry, that is taking on the cable industry again. This time, however, they are taking on the industry’s broadband offerings. Like Aereo, Starry utilizes a network of antennas. The company claims that it can provide speeds of up to one gigabit speed, wirelessly:

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.3

Starry-antenna Starry: A new ISP from Aereo founder

The technology has two main components. The Starry Beam will be attached to rooftops and high vantage points. These devices will be connected to landline fiber connections, and will act as the main transmitter of the internet signal. The second component is the Starry Point (pictured above), which will act as the receiver, with similar functionality of a TV antenna. While there has been some skepticism on the interwebs, it is at the very least, an innovative approach.

According to the company, the product will retail at $349.99, and will begin shipping in March of this year. It is unclear if there will be a re-occurring or service fee of any kind.

  1. Andrew Thompson, TechFaster, “CBS CEO: The Aereo case “will not affect our bottom line,” 20 February 2014  
  2. Darnell Glass, TechFaster, “Embattled Aereo to lay off majority of staff,” 9 November 2014