Virginia company bringing wireless option to valley


XO Communications, which has 366 miles of fiber optic network lines in the Las Vegas area, today planned to announced a fixed wireless service that enables midsize to large businesses to bypass the former monopoly telephone company for voice, data and Internet communications.

The Reston, Va., telecommunications company said its service, Local Multipoint Distribution System spectrum, can be used to connect business customers directly to the telecommunications network, bypassing Embarq Corp., the former monopoly local exchange company.

Customers install a 2-foot antenna on the building roof and are connected to the antenna by cable.

Communications will travel at speeds from 45 megabits per second to 155 mbps. Some customers will use it as a redundant backup to wireline services, which can be interrupted because of a construction accident or disaster. The devices come with a battery that will enable telecommunications to continue for eight hours.

For others, the wireless service represents a less expensive and less time-consuming option to installing fiber-optic lines in existing buildings. Fiber-optic lines are glass or plastic and have a high capacity for transmitting information as light pulses.

About 20 percent of business buildings around the country are served by fiber-optic lines, said Peter Kasparoff, general manager of the Las Vegas market for XO Communications.

The wireless service costs about 30 percent to 40 percent less than fiber optics, which may take several months to install, Kasparoff said. The telecommunications quality over the wireless service is virtually the same as XO's fiber-optic service, he said.

The typical customer would be a business that spends $1,200 to $2,000 on telephone and telecommunications monthly, he said.

XO already faces a couple of wireless competitors in Las Vegas. Andrew Kreig, chief executive officer of the Wireless Communications Association International, expects that more will enter the Las Vegas market, although with somewhat different products, such as mobile Wi-Max.

"There is about to become a wave of wireless services, and this is a sign of new competition in the wireless sector," Kreig said.

XO is operating wireless services in 12 metropolitan areas around the country with the addition of Las Vegas. It has licenses for the spectrum in 75 cities.

The company has its area operations headquartered in Henderson and employs 40 people in the valley.