LONDON Broadband wireless equipment specialist Orthogon Systems has secured $7 million in venture capital from previous investors Atlas Venture and The Carlyle Group, bringing total funds raised to $28 million. The funding will be used for further development and marketing of the company's "Gemini" broadband wireless Ethernet bridge.
Meanwhile, senior director at the company has lashed out at European regulators for delaying the introduction of the technology here, and suggested they are again hindering the growth of innovative companies in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe.
Orthogon, headquartered in Ashburton, Devon (England) has also established a sales and marketing organization in Waltham, Mass. It also announced Monday June 30)) that it has started shipping its first Gemini products, which offer non-line-of-sight (NLOS) coverage in the license-exempt 5.8 GHz ISM band.
The system provides a secure point-to-point broadband link to connect separate networks for up to six miles where obstacles such as trees and buildings prevent a direct line-of-sight connection.
The Gemini platform is currently in NLOS trial deployments in Canada and the U.S. The company said it expects to start shipping products next month through a network of distributors and resellers. Trials are also planned soon in Australia and Malaysia.
"It is a tragic shame that we have not been able to do any trials here in the U.K., nor anywhere in Europe because of regulatory delays and mismanagement. The RA [Radicommunications Agency] was going to release the 5.8 GHz C band for broadband access next month, but they have changed their minds again and continue to drag their feet," said Grant Grafton, operations director at Orthogon. The frequency is available, he added, but at such low RF power levels that it is only suitable for indoor use.
"The RA is not thinking at all about business, but are simply following their own agenda. To be fair, its an issue at the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) as much as the RA, but it's no good the government beating its breast about the importance of Broadband Britain, and then putting such obstacles in the way", Grafton added.
Orthogon was formed by executives from Piping Hot Networks, which was forced to cease trading when the U.K. government delayed the use of the 3.4GHz frequency range for broadband fixed wireless access. Piping Hot developed equipment for the application, and at one stage employed 105 people. However, delays forced it to reduce its staff to 15 and to change strategy to develop different technologies.