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Metricom Expands Its Ricochet Service

Metricom (http://www.metricom.com) today announced the expanded availability of Ricochet 128 kbps coverage to include the following new markets: Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Additionally, Metricom reports that their network now covers much of Manhattan. Metricom's Ricochet service allows users to wireless connect to the Internet at broadband speed from a laptop or desktop using a Ricochet wireless modem.

Metricom had already rolled out its 128kps wireless coverage in Atlanta and SanDiego, and offers coverage in Seattle, Washington D.C. and at 15 major airports at 28.8 kps. Metricom's 128kps and 28.8kps networks are seamlessly connected, and a user of their service may access coverage in any area covered by their network without incurring roaming charges.

According to John Wernke, SVP of Marketing and Sales, the product is primarily targeted at mobile business professionals that need high-speed access to their data from several metropolitan areas. The service is available through various resellers, and is typically retailing for about 74.99 a month with unlimited use. Wernke believes the service is a very affordable replacement for residential users frustrated with their inability to get DSL.

"In a market place full of false promises about user speed and experience, constraints on Web links, clipped graphic content, and a lot of fine print about metered pricing, Ricochet offers the true Internet experience with the reality of high-speed access on a nationwide basis now,'' concluded Tim Dreisbach, chairman and CEO of Metricom, in a statement.

Metricom is currently building its network to provide access to 10 more markets by the end of the year. Additionally, they plan to expand the network to provide service to 25 more companies next year. According to Wernke, the physical build which allowed their current expansion was accomplished in only three months. Metricom intends to spend a total of $1 billion on their network expansion.

Metricom's Ricochet service operates in the unlicensed IFM and 2.4 gigahertz bands. The service also makes use of the 2.3 gigahertz band, which Metricom owns in 75% of the United States. Service in the unlicensed bands can be subject to interference of other devices. Wernke asserts, though, that Metricom's technology can handle this interference while maintaining the integrity of their service for the user.

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