It’s a familiar scenario; household WiFi straining under the competing demands of various iPads, or Netflix and internet usage in different rooms. Starry is a new Internet Server Provider (ISP) that offers the world’s first touchscreen WiFi station that gives perfectly-tuned WiFi according to demand. The clever touchscreen router allows users to see their entire network in real time, thereby showing what devices are online and allowing any connection problems to be easily fixed. The system also allows users to manage their kids’ screen time, locate their WiFi name and password easily and discover whether their internet speed matches what they’ve paid for.
How they’re disrupting
In an industry dominated by a limited list of massive ISPs, Starry is giving consumers a choice. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 60% of American consumers have only one choice for broadband service. That means shopping for a better deal or better internet service is virtually impossible for most Americans. Starry wants to give consumers a choice and provide consumers with an internet service that is customer-focused, reliable, affordable, and ultra-fast, and something they can control from their own household.
Unlike a traditional ISP that builds out its network by tearing up streets and sidewalks and laying cable or fiber, Starry’s approach is to build a wireless “last-mile” using millimeter wave spectrum. Using proprietary millimeter wave technology Starry is able to build a network across a city in the fraction of the time it would take to build a wired network. These time and cost savings are then passed onto the users who are able to enjoy gigabit-capable internet for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay a traditional ISP.
Roughly a quarter of the world’s households use WiFi. The use of WiFi in households is seen as important as having an electricity supply these days. Therefore, usage is set to grow further as the internet becomes cheaper and more accessible across the globe. As an ISP, Starry’s target market is anyone who uses the internet, which in the U.S. alone is nearly 290 million people. Starry’s initial focus is in larger, urban centers, as they are the most conducive to Starry’s technology and internet architecture. However, as Starry grows and more people go online every year, its disruption potential is nearly limitless.
Investments and future
Starry has raised $63 million to date, with investors including HLVP, Tiger Global Management and First Mark Capital. Starry’s ambitions don’t just end at the United States – they’re planning disruption on a global scale.