While using the 5GHz band for Mimosa's long-range network, the access points can offer true Wi-Fi service in the 2.4GHz band within a range of a few hundred meters.
A 500Mbps connection is more than most U.S. residents can get from any service provider, and it could be deployed for a capital cost of about US$100 per customer, one-tenth the cost of connecting fiber to a home either underground or on poles, Fink said. That could give broadband upstarts a cheaper way to compete with entrenched cable and telecommunications carriers that already have fiber or copper lines into homes.
But Mimosa's bigger impact could be in parts of the world such as India or Brazil where most residents don't yet have home broadband. They face steep challenges to deployment.
"There is very little to no copper in the ground. There's almost no fiber" except for enterprise networks, Fink said. "There's absolutely no way that you can count on DSL being the primary [connection], or that fiber's going to be very cheap to do," despite lower labor costs for deploying lines, he said. The company expects to do about 80 percent of its business outside the U.S.
On Wednesday, Mimosa announced three models of access points and a client device for mounting on the roof or side of a building. The access points range in list price from $949 to $1,109, and the client unit lists at $99.