Vivint, a security company that’s pushing into the home automation and energy management markets, is also trying its hand at a wireless broadband service that offers 50 Mbps for $55. Jeremy Warren, VP of innovation at Vivint, mentioned the trials of the broadband service in an interview Tuesday afternoon, but declined to go into too much detail.
He said that Vivint is testing the service in Utah where Vivint is based, and that it uses a mesh networking topology as opposed to a traditional tower-oriented network design that many Wireless ISPs deploy today. He said the company is taking advantage of off-the-shelf radios and using unlicensed and “semi-licensed” spectrum in a variety of ranges including the 5GHz and 2.4Ghz range used for Wi-Fi.
By taking advantage of the existing customer hardware that Vivint gives its security customers and using software that Vivint has designed to manage what will be a multi-hop wireless network, it is trying to deliver quality broadband that has less oversubscription than competing cable or satellite networks. Interestingly, Vivint is based in Provo, Utah where Google is also deploying a fiber network, which may be why Warren said the trials were going on outside if Vivint’s hometown.
Other than telling me Vivint wasn’t using white spaces broadband he didn’t get more specific than what’s mentioned above other than to say he believes Vivint can deliver competitive broadband at a relatively low deployment cost. “We have a nationwide field service arm and know how to talk to customers and acquire customers and service them,” Warren said. He argued that customer acquisition costs are a big expense of building out a network, and Vivint can sidestep those costs because it already has a customer acquisition infrastructure thanks to its distributor network.
Although a more accurate way to think about the challenge a fledgling network faces is trying build out a network ahead of, but not too far ahead of, your customer acquisition, so revenue starts flowing in before all of costs of deploying the network drag you under (see Clearwire). However, with Comcast interested in selling electricity and most of the ISPs offering some form of home automation, why shouldn’t a security and home automation provider try its hand at broadband.