By Loralee Stevens Special to the Business Journal
SANTA ROSA – “I hate wireless,” said Sonic.net CEO Dane Jasper on his blog last week, announcing that he had spun off his wireless division to concentrate on DSL and fiber.
“Wireless is magic. You point two antennas at each other over a span of miles, and broadband comes out the other end. Most of the time,” he wrote.
Santa Rosa-based ISP Sonic.net has sold its wireless business to CDS Enterprises of Santa Rosa, a long-time local provider of high-speed access to rural users.
“It was a very small part of our business, only about 2 percent,” said Mr. Jasper. “We want to focus on the wireline and fiber division, which is growing fast.”
Mr. Jasper also announced the end of Sonic.net’s local WiFi operations in downtown Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Windsor and Healdsburg, although it’ll continue – for now – to operate WiFi service on Airport Express buses.
“With the rise of smartphones and 3g, plus the growing challenges of maintaining aging WiFi equipment, this is also something we cannot focus on anymore,” he said.
Over the course of 10 years Sonic.net has expanded its services to include high speed access, and in some areas voice, to both business and residential subscribers.
Originally offering dial-up access to Sonoma County residents, the company has become a carrier in its own right with a growing copper and fiber network. Sonic.net also wholesales DSL to other ISPs.
“Wireline is our future,” said Mr. Jasper, “but wireless is the future for CDS, and we think they’ll be much better stewards of our wireless customers than we could have been, with our major push to expand our DSL and fiber networks.”
CDS resells DSL which it purchases from Sonic.net, but its focus is on wireless, serving customers in remote areas of the North Bay with no cable, DSL or satellite service.
“This is great deal for us,” said CDS president Steve Carniglia. “It adds 10 transmission sites to our 47 and allows us to bump our transmitters up from 90 to 100. And most of the new sites are to the west, so now we can offer access all the way out to Bodega.”
CDS, with transmitter sites on Mt. St. Helena and Mt. Veeder, among others, covered mostly central Sonoma County, parts of Napa, Marin and Mendocino counties.
“Sonic.net has plans to provide a large new fiber uplink for our wireless network,” said Mr. Carniglia.
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