Tarana wireless raises $170M, leads new approach to fiber-class broadband
Tarana Wireless, Inc., whose mission is to accelerate the broadband industry’s efforts to close the world’s persistent digital divide, announced reaching two major milestones this month. After commercial launch in late 2021 of Tarana’s G1 platform — which delivers fiber-class internet service at a fraction of fiber’s cost and complexity — the company is on track to deliver over $100 million of revenue in 2022, from a customer base that has exploded to more than 120 service providers. Tarana also announced it has raised $170 million at a $1 billion valuation from preeminent venture and institutional investors to support their rapid growth.
The round was co-led by Axon Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Prime Movers Lab. Also participating were Michigan State Pension Fund, I Squared Capital, and two other large, industry-leading institutional investors.
“The key ingredient driving our rapid expansion is overwhelming customer demand for G1, the world’s most advanced fixed wireless access (FWA) platform,” noted Tarana CEO Basil Alwan. “Like fiber, G1 delivers ultra-fast internet service with impressive upstream and downstream speeds, but with dramatic improvements in both cost and time to deploy. Finally, true high-speed broadband can be delivered to anyone, anywhere — rapidly and economically.”
Beyond water and electricity, affordable, high-speed internet access has become the most important utility for households the world over. Outside of the relatively small percentage of global homes that have access to upgraded cable, fiber has been the most viable new technology for reliable, high-speed internet. Unfortunately, fiber is throttled by high installation costs and project complexity, leading to long deployment timelines and a focus on high-density, high-income markets.
Alternatives to fiber have been challenged. Older cable systems suffer from inadequate upstream speeds and generally poor performance. Other options include sub-par DSL and prior generations of fixed wireless access that require line-of-sight to achieve reasonable speeds. And while later generations of satellites have shown vast improvements, they too have limitations. Satellite guru Greg Wyler, also a Tarana investor, noted “While satellite-based services serve an important need, they lack the aggregate capacity required to support high performance in mainstream broadband markets. G1 offers transformational speed and quality, even in unlicensed spectrum. It is something you have to see to believe.”
Providing service with Tarana’s G1 platform is remarkably simple. An internet provider mounts four briefcase-sized “base node” radios on a tower, and these can deliver consistent high-performance internet with up to gigabit-class speeds and low latency for as many as 1,000 customers within a few-miles radius. They can also be configured to provide symmetric upstream and downstream rates as an option. All customers need is a “remote node” radio the size of a hardcover textbook installed on their house, which can connect to a base node even without clear line of sight between the radios.
G1 early adopters include large, established telecom service providers such as MTN, BT, and Liberty; new entrants on the broadband scene (not yet public); and a fast-growing number of innovative wireless internet service providers including Wisper Internet, Redzone, and Resound Networks.
Resound CEO Tyson Curtis, summarizing their experience with G1, said “the platform cuts the cost and timeline of our network deployments in half while delivering 6x more capacity per tower and 3x higher end-subscriber speeds. It supports full-scale entry into large markets that are impossible to serve with any other FWA technology.”
Tarana’s investors have seen clearly the full promise of this simple to deploy, revolutionary technology:
“We invested early in Tarana, and the company’s fast start in the past year with the G1 platform is impressive,” said Samir Kaul, founding partner and managing director at Khosla Ventures. “Tarana’s advances in network economics, performance, and deployment speed create a real path to radically altering the broadband provider market.”
Dakin Sloss, General Partner and Founder of Prime Movers Lab, said, “In addition to growing its customer pipeline, Tarana is removing barriers to broadband service for the more than 3 billion people around the world who do not have access to the internet. G1 is transformative technology that will connect hundreds of millions of households to fast, affordable broadband for the first time, bringing them into the global economy.”
Dinakar Singh, founder and CEO of Axon Capital said, “Simply put, we believe Tarana’s technology will fundamentally change the competitive and economic landscape of the broadband industry. This is not evolution, it is revolution, and we are thrilled to help Tarana achieve the exponential growth in market reach needed to create the broadband future consumers deserve.”
Basil Alwan concluded, “Tarana is now fully funded to help close the digital divide with our operator partners worldwide. Our founding engineers set out to make real progress against this intractable challenge, and after years of effort it is gratifying to see such traction in the market!”
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