Public-private partnership brings Ricochet wireless Internet to Denver
Ricochet Networks has re-launched its Ricochet high-speed wireless Internet service to consumers in Denver.
As part of a public-private partnership with the Denver government, the company has given the city modems and service in exchange for the opportunity to jointly develop and deploy Ricochet-based municipal and public safety applications. The service is available to consumers and businesses for $44.95 per month.
Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb said, “We’re proud that Denver is the first city in the nation to re-launch the Ricochet service for consumers. We’ve been testing it since February, and we feel it’s a communications tool that holds great potential for the city. This next year will enable us to test out applications like high-speed access in police patrol cars, or the fire department can pull up site plans en route to a fire, [and] paramedics can access health records and emergency room availability while they’re responding to an accident.”
Ricochet Networks claims that its service is the fastest mobile wireless data network in the world with typical speeds of 176 kbps and higher. The network has the potential to allow public safety workers to download large files such as mug shots, photographs, building plans and geographical information system data.
“We’re excited to have this opportunity to help our community with a service that has the potential for police, firefighters and other public servants to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. The partnership also allows us to learn more about how we can develop public safety applications and products,” said the company’s president, Morton C. Aaronson. “Our partnership with Denver is the model of a new sustainable business plan for the Ricochet network, one that we are working to extend to other cities around the country.”
Ricochet allows consumers and businesses to connect to the Internet or private networks from anywhere within the Ricochet coverage area. A modem to run Ricochet retails for $99.95.
Under previous ownership, the Ricochet network had been built in 21 cities and had more than 51,000 subscribers. Shut down last August, the Ricochet intellectual property and certain assets were acquired by Ricochet Networks in November 2001. RNI is currently in active negotiations with municipalities, private landlords and resellers to reactivate the network and sell the service in other U.S. cities following the Denver launch.
Ricochet Networks is owned by Aerie Networks, a broadband services company backed by VantagePoint Venture Partners and based in Denver. The company is seeking public-private partnerships with communities and local government to help turn the Ricochet network back on where it once existed and to install new networks in areas where affordable broadband access is currently unavailable.
To see a related story about how the Denver Police Department has used Ricochet service, click here.