Blog Post

With BendBroadband, HSPA+ Super-fast Wireless Broadband Arrives in the U.S.

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

BendBroadband, a Bend, Ore.-based cable operator, this morning launched a next-generation wireless broadband network that uses HSPA+ technology, thus becoming the first company in the U.S. to do so. T-Mobile USA has a trial network up and running in Philadelphia, though it has yet to launch a commercial service.

HSPA+ is an upgrade to the current generation of 3G technologies and is also known as Evolved HSPA. It can provide downstream connectivity of up to 56 megabits per second (Mbps) and upstream connections of 22 Mbps.

BendBroadband can offer connections of up to 15 Mbps to its customers, though in reality they’ll typically get closer to 6-8 Mbps. The small, family-owned cable company can also now offer broadband and voice services to residents of certain rural communities. The broadband connections will come in two flavors — fixed and mobile — and will cost anywhere from $20-$80 a month.

BendBroadband may be the first to formally launch a wireless broadband service using HSPA+ technology, but it seems several small (and large) players are interested in going down this same route. This is a good, cheap way for them to extend their broadband footprints, without doing expensive co-ax cable buildouts in less populated areas. The U.S. government recently began accepting applications for stimulus funds aimed at boosting broadband, and as Stacey reported, the less populated areas and small independent carriers were expected to be the big winners of the government largesse.

Another big backer of HSPA+ in the U.S. is T-Mobile USA. Back in May, T-Mobile CTO Cole Brodman told me that “in 2010, you’re going to see us start to integrate HSPA+ into our network.

[With] HSPA+, I think you’ll see the ability to see peaks that are three to five times that. A lot of it at that point will start to come down to device capability. I don’t think you’ll see that capability in a smartphone, but I think it’s very possible to see it in a data stick and maybe a netbook that has the chip architecture and the memory to support it. In the future, we’ll see rates that are even greater than that, but I think that’s beyond 2010.

T-Mobile is in a mortal combat with AT&T (s t), Verizon (s vz) and Sprint (s fon) to attract big-spending data customers. The company has bet big on Android (s goog) and now needs a faster, more capable network in order to compete against its bigger rivals.

13 Responses to “With BendBroadband, HSPA+ Super-fast Wireless Broadband Arrives in the U.S.”

  1. Kudos to Bend and especially to Mr. Miller for being so open and forthcoming with details. Would it be that the national providers might follow suit — and instead of just telling us “how fast,” instead also telling us “how many” as in, how many users they’ll actually be able to support at those speeds given their spectrum holdings.

    Instead of, of course, thinking that the best way to run a network is to sell as many phones as you can and then tell users to use less. Expect a migration of netheads to Bend, Ore., soon.

  2. Frank Miller


    The longtail we see for performance in the HSPA+ ecosystem is UE maturity. The UE’s we have are, per protocol, at 21Mbs/5.6Mbs with layer 3 field measurements, in optimal conditions, of 15.8Mbs/3.8Mbs. That stated, our engineering calculations for RSSI and drive test show an average experience between 6-8Mbs down and 2-3Mbs up in layer 3 performance.

    Frank Miller
    CTO / BendBroadband