Sonic.net sheds wireless unit to focus on fiber

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Sonic.net, a San Francisco Bay Area-based network operator that has been nudging its much larger rivals in its markets by its aggressive fiber-broadband expansion, has announced the sale of its wireless division.

The company said by shedding its wireless division, it hopes to strengthen its wireline efforts, including DSL and fiber.

Sonic.net sold its wireless division, which reportedly accounted for only about 2 percent of its business, to fellow Santa Rosa, Calif.-based network operator CDS Enterprises.

Sonic.net also provides CDS with wholesale DSL and fiber links, but CDS primarily focuses on wireless, and Sonic.net conceded that CDS does a better job of it than Sonic.net is capable of doing.

News of Sonic.net’s move to sell its wireless division came a week after company Chief Executive Officer Dane Jasper proclaimed April 4 on his blog, “I hate wireless,” citing issues of wireless-broadband reliability.

It’s rare these days, with wireless booming and customers by the droves cutting their landline cords that a telecom service provider willingly proclaims that its future lies in wireline. But, Sonic.net has done exactly that.

Like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and a handful of other service providers, Sonic.net has started offering 1 Gbps broadband services on a limited basis, aggressively forging ahead in a game some larger service providers have been hesitant to play.

Sonic.net has explored the potential of expanding beyond the smaller markets it typically serves into San Francisco.

It is interesting to note that while service providers rarely exit wireless in favor of wireline, Northern California does offer one previous example of another company that made the same decision.

Roseville, Calif.-based SureWest Communications (Nasdaq:SURW) in 2008 began selling its wireless properties. Like Sonic.net, it did so to focus on its fiber broadband ambitions.

Sonic.net also has announced it will discontinue its public Wi-Fi network coverage in the downtown areas of Santa Rosa, as well as in neighboring Petaluma, Windsor and Healdsburg. It will, however, continue to offer Wi-Fi on local Airport Express buses.

For more:
- see this North Bay Business Journal report

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