Ashburn WiMax company scores $20 million in funding
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Ashburn-based DigitalBridge Communications is set to announce tomorrow $20 million in venture capital from several local investment firms.
DigitalBridge is bringing WiMax--a high-speed, long-range wireless network--to small- and medium-sized cities around the country. The company's service is already available in Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho; Missoula, Montana; and Washington, Ind.
The cash infusion, which follows an earlier round of investment of $11 million, will help DigitalBridge launch in 15 other cities covering 2.5 million people over the next few months.
DigitalBridge is one of the first companies to launch WiMax in the United States. The technology is the same being promoted heavily by Reston-based Sprint Nextel, which is currently testing the product in Baltimore, the District and Chicago with the hope of launching in the spring. Sprint ultimately hopes to expand nationwide.
Paladin Capital Group, a District private equity firm that focuses on homeland security companies, led the investment in DigitalBridge. It was joined by RedShift Ventures, CNF Investments and Novak Biddle Venture Partners.
"Paladin believes that WiMAX enables us to quickly and cost-effectively bring broadband to the places that need it most," Niloo Howe, managing director of Paladin, said in a statement.
Howe and Tom Scholl of Novak Biddle will join the company's board of directors.
DigitalBridge first launched WiMax service six months ago in Rexburg. In total, the company has more than 1,000 subscribers using WiMax and more than 10,000 using an older wireless service.
Some have questioned whether WiMax technology, which works at about the speed of home DSL connections but is slower than cable, can be deployed cost effectively around the country. Several wireless companies are hard at work building competing networks which may be faster.
"In under a year we have proven that we can deliver the fast, simple, portable, and affordable broadband services that customers want - and we can do it profitably," Kelley Dunne, chief executive, said in a statement.
January 14, 2008; 12:27 PM ET
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