According to an article by Fierce Broadband Wireless, the latest in a long line of rural WiMAX operators in the US has been shut down due to a lack of demand. Rocky Mountain Broadband, which operates out of popular ski resort Aspen, Colorado, closed its doors at the end of last month, after notching up ‘less than a dozen’ subscribers to its ‘Peak4G’ product since going live in March this year. Rocky Mountain boss John Metelski told Fierce: ‘We are out of money. We told our people the service [was] going to end on 31 August. After that the system will continue to operate until it malfunctions. We are not fixing it after that. So, you are welcome to use it for free until it fails’. He also revealed that the company had hoped to build up a substantial customer base in Aspen with a view to attracting an eventual buyout from the likes of Clearwire. While lamenting the issues facing WiMAX’s ‘foot soldiers’ who have struggled to survive, Metelski speculated: ‘We still have one arrow in our quiver, which might be the spectrum play. Maybe three to five years down the road the build-up on the market will be so great that [other carriers] will need these [2.5GHz] frequencies’.
Fierce adds that the management of Rocky Mountain Broadband also held 2.5GHz spectrum in Auburn, Alabama, which it sub-leased to another WiMAX operator, Main Street Broadband. Despite attracting 80,000 subscribers in northern Florida and southern Georgia, that company also shut its doors on 1 August this year, after struggling to repay a USD34 million loan to the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service, which dated back to 2009.