Tarana Wireless, whose mission is to accelerate the broadband industry’s efforts to close the world’s persistent digital divide, announced reaching two major milestones this month.
After commercial launch in late 2021 of Tarana’s G1 platform — which delivers fiber-class internet service at a fraction of fiber’s cost and complexity — the company is on track to deliver over $100 million of revenue in 2022, from a customer base that has exploded to more than 120 service providers. Tarana also announced it has raised $170 million at a $1 billion valuation from preeminent venture and institutional investors to support their rapid growth.
The round was co-led by Axon Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Prime Movers Lab. Also participating were Michigan State Pension Fund, I Squared Capital, and two other large, industry-leading institutional investors.
Beyond water and electricity, affordable, high-speed internet access has become the most important utility for households the world over. Outside of the relatively small percentage of global homes that have access to upgraded cable, fiber has been the most viable new technology for reliable, high-speed internet. Unfortunately, fiber is throttled by high installation costs and project complexity, leading to long deployment timelines and a focus on high-density, high-income markets.
Alternatives to fiber have been challenged. Older cable systems suffer from inadequate upstream speeds and generally poor performance. Other options include sub-par DSL and prior generations of fixed wireless access that require line-of-sight to achieve reasonable speeds. And while later generations of satellites have shown vast improvements, they too have limitations.
Providing service with Tarana’s G1 platform is remarkably simple. An internet provider mounts four briefcase-sized “base node” radios on a tower, and these can deliver consistent high-performance internet with up to gigabit-class speeds and low latency for as many as 1,000 customers within a few-miles radius. They can also be configured to provide symmetric upstream and downstream rates as an option. All customers need is a “remote node” radio the size of a hardcover textbook installed on their house, which can connect to a base node even without clear line of sight between the radios.