Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Open Range Files for Chapter 11 -- Largest RUS-funded Project

Open Range Communication, the largest Rural Utilities Service (RUS) funded carrier in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after its government loans were cut off. The company, which is based in Greenwood Village, Colorado, provides High Speed Wireless Internet and Home Phone services to rural communities across the U.S. Along with the filing, the company has laid off the majority of it workers and the CEO has reported resigned.

Open Range Communications operates a WiMAX network.

Open Range Communications is a unique public and private partnership. The company was approved in 2009 for a loan by the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Utilities Program (RDUP) to deliver High Speed Wireless Internet to more than 500 communities across 17 states. This Broadband Access Loan of $267 million loan (the largest in USDA history) was made possible through the positive and combined efforts of the USDA's RUS and FCC. Open Range received additional private equity funding on January 9, 2009 through an investment of $100 million from One Equity Partners (OEP), the private equity arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co. The OEP investment satisfied the RDUP's loan terms, making the funds available to Open Range.

  • In June 2009, Open Range Communications selected Alvarion to provide radio access equipment, customer devices (CPE) and systems integration for its planned rollout spanning 17 states, 546 rural communities, and reaching up to 6 million people. The contract wass valued at more than US$100 million over a five-year implementation. In addition to selecting Alvarion for its WiMAX platform, Open Range will rely on Alvarion for the end-to-end integration of the Open Range network solution.

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