Ricochet Still Bouncing Around

Yes, Richochet, the spectacularly failed wireless Internet provider of the early 2000s still exists, though it’s on about its 37th owner. But Richochet’s attempting (yet another) comeback, this time trying to get into the municipal wireless business by bidding to run San Jose’s wireless network, as well as sell wholesale Internet access using its equipment that remains perched on lampposts across Silicon Valley. A big reason for Richochet’s downfall was that it was before its time (the $80 per month price tag didn’t help, either), and the “mobile professional” niche that the service aimed for never really bought in to the service, but quickly took to WiFi and found that it met their needs. The problem for Richochet now is that its time has passed — despite the company’s claims that its service can better penetrate buildings and works better in moving vehicles than WiFi, its slow speeds don’t make it very attractive. WiFi is still the biggest obstacle, and Richochet’s one-time advantages over cellular data networks no longer exist.

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