Startup Skyboxe said it has received Federal Communications Commission certification for a new fixed wireless device that would replace the cable modem, WiFi router and pay TV set-top in the home.
The company is targeting a fall launch for its initial product, the Skyboxe Hub 4G, which would provide a 4G/LTE access point, an 802.11ac WiFi router, an ATSC 1.0 tuner for local broadcast channels and an Android TV-based connected device, with preloaded apps including Sling TV.
The data sheet for the Skyboxe Hub 4G said it’s capable of delivering download speeds exceeding 1 Gbps, although most LTE networks currently don’t support that.
Skyboxe is currently taking “no obligation” signups on its landing page. But it isn’t disclosing a price for the device and data service, or a launch date.
While currently focused on legacy 4G/LTE wireless network standards, Skyboxe said it’s “paving the way” for a fixed 5G wireless play down the road. Currently, cable companies are closing in on control of 70% of the U.S. fixed broadband market. But the major wireless carriers, as part of their 5G push, will soon try to convince consumers they don’t need to pay both wireline and wireless broadband bills.
“Having the functionality of an access point, WiFi router, TV tuner and apps-based platform in a single device that isn’t tied to any one carrier is what we expect is going to differentiate us,” Skyboxe head of marketing Bill Smith said Sept. 8, one week after the FCC action. Prospective customers include cord-cutters and cord-nevers but also remote workers and other consumers, and potentially telecom carriers or cable operators, he said.
San Jose-based Skyboxe is backed by Applied Digital Research Corp., a crowdfunded startup based in Sarasota, Florida. The Skyboxe team includes CEO Jeff Allen, a former Brightcove and IBM video cloud executive; chief operating officer Rob Shambro, a veteran tech entrepreneur; and marketing chief Bill Smith, formerly with TiVo.
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