Ricochet Set to Bounce Back
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Wireless Internet service provider Ricochet is preparing to bounce back from bankruptcy under a new owner that promises to lower prices and cater to a more mainstream audience.
Denver-based Aerie Networks plans to revive Ricochet this spring in Southern California, and then return to the service’s San Francisco Bay area roots this summer, company executives told the San Jose Mercury News. Ricochet, a San Jose-based pioneer of wireless Internet access, cut off 51,000 subscribers in August when its former owner, Metricom Inc., went bankrupt.
Aerie paid $8.25 million for much of Ricochet’s intellectual property, including roughly 70 patents and trademarks _ as well as enough equipment to fill 500 18-wheel trucks. Metricom invested $1.3 billion to build a wireless service that spanned 21 U.S. markets.
In hopes of avoiding the financial trouble that ruined Metricom, Aerie Networks will limit the Ricochet service to markets where the company can sign up enough customers to cover costs, executives said. The service proved particularly popular in the tech-driven Bay Area, where Ricochet had 25,000 subscribers.
Aerie hopes to make Ricochet more appealing by selling the service’s wireless modem for about $100 and offering monthly subscriptions for $44.95. Metricom had charged $300 for the wireless modem and demanded about $80 per month for the service.
Aerie will market the service more to homes and businesses looking for an alternative to the high-speed Internet access available through cable modems and digital subscriber lines, company CEO Mort Aaronson said.
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