Developers are gunning for Time Warner Cable's business in Troy – Albany Business Review

Donna Abbott-Vlahos|Albany Business Review

John Blackburn and Thomas Rossi outside their MassiveMesh offices at 172 River Street in… more

Two tech entrepreneurs turned real estate developers in Troy, New York have started a business called MassiveMesh that is providing low-cost, high-speed wireless Internet as an alternative to Time Warner Cable and other providers.

Tom Rossi and John Blackburn, who run Redburn Development real estate management and development company, started offering the Wi-Fi service to their tenants last year. Rossi and Blackburn own the River Street Lofts in downtown Troy and several other properties. Over the past year, their Wi-Fi service business has grown to about 250 customers in downtown Troy and South Troy.

Now they plan to bring the wireless network to Watervliet, where they are converting the former Tilley Ladder Cos. manufacturing plant into 62 apartments. The Internet service has the potential to expand to Lansingburgh, Brunswick, Green Island and Albany.

Charlow Built Home

“Using our background from our previous business we saw ways to use current technology to make wireless work in an urban environment,” Blackburn said. “We’re making fixed wireless services available affordably in an urban environment.”

Rossi and Blackburn were part of the team that in 2004 founded BullEx Digital Safety, which makes fire extinguisher training systems. BullEx was acquired in January 2012 by LION, an Ohio company that makes protective equipment for first responders. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. BullEx employs about 80 people in Albany.

Unlike traditional Internet providers, MassiveMesh uses a mesh network transmitted wirelessly throughout the city with no cabling. Wireless radio transmitters on top of buildings transmit high speed signals to repeater sites, or antennas throughout the city. These antennas connect the Wi-Fi from its data center on River Street to radios in homes and businesses.

The company recently installed antennas on a water tower in Troy, allowing the network to expand to other cities.

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