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SF firm helps deliver Internet in Australia

SANTA FE, N.M. — Residents of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands off Australia’s east coast are getting improved access to high-speed Internet thanks to a small Santa Fe-based startup.

IQCOMM Technologies signed a contract in July with Arete Community Telecom in Australia to provide its proprietary radio and antenna equipment to boost wireless Internet coverage for 2,658 homes on four islands near Brisbane. The contract is worth at least $2 million, and possibly up to $5 million, depending on the number of radio units and associated equipment Arete installs, said IQCOMM founder and CEO Leonard Pascual.

It’s the company’s first major contract after officially launching one year ago. But Arete is planning to expand to more remote places across Australia, and Australian telecom hardware distributor Warren & Brown Technologies is now promoting IQCOMM’s radio equipment throughout the region.

“Arete showed our product to (Warren & Brown), and that provider is now pushing it in the Phillipines, New Zealand and other places,” Pascual said.

Pascual launched IQCOMM with CTO Bryan del Castillo, who previously worked on radio frequency jamming with the U.S. Navy. Castillo built proprietary hardware and software that can boost wireless accessibility beyond what many mainstream equipment suppliers generally offer, connecting more people over longer distances, Pascual said.

“We use off-the-shelf products and assemble them in a certain way, and then add in our proprietary hardware and software. We compared our hardware head-to-head with others on the market and found it’s roughly 30 percent to 50 percent less expensive while offering more coverage,” Pascual said.

Telecom providers need to install fewer units with less wiring, further reducing costs.

“We tested a range of suppliers and found that the IQCOMM product outperformed the competition by several hundred percent in most metrics and was able to deliver, in many instances, where the competitors simply failed,” said Arete CEO Greg Walter in a prepared statement. “This means we can cover more homes and businesses with fast reliable Internet with less equipment. That’s disruptive technology — which is exactly what we need.”

The company is largely focused on overseas markets, particularly in Southeast Asia, to avoid competing head-on with well-established companies like Cisco or Ruckus, Pascual said. But it may soon hit the U.S. mainland, since Arete is now working with a local partner to establish the system in some remote places in the Carolinas.

IQCOMM shares a 3,000-square-foot facility at 520 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe with Sound Look, another Pascual company that offers customized wireless networking solutions for homes and businesses. The two firms together employ eight people.

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