Schurz Invests in Rural Broadband Supplier

By: E&P Staff DigitalBridge Communications Corp., Ashburn, Va., a private operator of WiMax 4G broadband networks in underserved and rural America, said it completed additional equity financing, including an investment from Schurz Communications, that will join next-generation communications with Schurz-supplied content for potentially millions of consumers.

The companies' combined capabilities will offer customers in Schurz markets affordable 4G mobile broadband and local content, beginning next year, with DBC engineering, building, and operating the wireless networks and Schurz teams promoting, selling, and supporting product bundles.

Headquartered in Mishawaka, Ind., Schurz operates two cable systems offering high-speed data services, 11 daily newspapers, 10 TV stations, 13 radio stations, and 25 news and information Web sites.

Over the past three years, DBC has launched broadband service to residential, business, educational, healthcare and public safety customers in 15 communities nationwide though WiMax-enabled laptops, netbooks, USB adapters and other portable devices. Its all-IP network and cost structure enable local Schurz teams to expand broadband service in their markets at what DBC calls "a fraction of the capital and operating cost required for traditional wired and wireless services."

"We have seen increased consumer demand and usage for broadband services from our cable operations, and our partnership with DBC will allow us to offer high-quality, high-speed, wireless broadband services to our customers and communities," Schurz CEO Todd Schurz said in a statement. He added that Schurz anticipates further digital growth among its print and broadcast properties "as more mobile devices access our content and services at 4G speeds."

The current round of financing also includes DBC's existing Series B investors: National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, Paladin Capital Group, CNF Investments, and Novak Biddle Venture Partners.

Four-year-old DBC says it was the first U.S. provider to launch standards-based WiMax service, the first to launch a standards-based (802.16E) WiMax mobile service, and the first to launch VOIP over WiMax. The WiMax international standard for wireless telecommunications uses licensed radio frequencies to deliver high-bandwidth fixed and mobile data services capable of self-installation by end users.


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