Countries that have poor fixed-line telephone systems need no longer be deprived of the internet – they can install a wireless system.
Cambridge Broadband specialises in developing technology for wireless broadband networks in countries with poor infrastructure.
Founded in 2000 by a team of 10 engineers headed by Peter Wharton, chief executive, and John Porter, chief technical officer, it has developed technology, called VectaStar, that can get around obstacles between the antennas and the base station, such as forests and buildings.
It also claims its technology can make the signal reach over longer distances than the systems used by most of its competitors, a key attribute given that a large part of its business is in South Africa and China, where it claims to have 37% of the market.
Cambridge Broadband’s package comprises both hardware, such as antennas and base stations, and software. Its customers are not the end users but national telecoms companies that use the technology to set up broadband networks.
Sales have grown 600% a year from £108,000 in 2001 to £5.3m in 2003. With research and development costs being high, Cambridge Broad- band has yet to make a profit but it expects to break even next year. It has raised about £25m from a variety of private-equity firms, including Amadeus Capital and Accel Partners.
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