Goldman backs wireless broadband startup Arcadia

Steve Rosenbush

Arcadian Networks, a wireless broadband company that servces rural industries, said Thursday it had raised an additional $30 million from lead investor Goldman Sachs. The New York-based telecom startup has now raised a total of $90 million.

Arcadian automates the information-gathering process for rural industries in sectors such as electricity, gas, oil and coal and emergency services.
By deploying high-speed, IP-based wireless networks, Arcadian can enable a range of services, from remote meter-reading to higher speed broadband access for police officers in the field. Arcadian said its neworks will help improve public infrastructure without taxing the public. A better infrastructure can lead to more efficient use of energy and resources, it said in a statement.

Arcadian is part of a new generation of telecom startups that hope to do better than the flame-outs of the late '90s. The upstarts of 10-years ago never made any money, because they couldn't sign up enough customers fast enough to pay down their huge debts, let alone make a profit. The passage of time has brought down startup costs for telecom companies. Wireless technology has matured and demand for data has grown. Incumbents such as Verizon and AT&T have become bigger and more sophisticated as well, so startups will face new challenges as well.

Arcadian and other upstarts such as Wimax carrier ClearWire are trying to build a compettive telecom business model that actually works. The fact that the quesion is being taken serously again is worth noting. If they succeed, a slew of big telecom IPOs could hit the market a few years from now.

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