Start-Up Firm Backed by Tchenguiz Set for Wireless Broadband Surge ; BUSINESS

Article excerpt

Macropolitan, a start-up company backed by the property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz, expects to have built a portfolio of 10,000 rooftop sites by this autumn as it readies itself for a surge in wireless broadband network launches in 2008.

Macropolitan manages and leases rooftop space to telecoms operators looking to install communications equipment in urban areas. It already operates 7,600 sites after signing exclusive deals with companies such as Travelodge, Fitness First and Premier Travel Inn, making it the largest site operator in the UK.

Ryan Jarvis, previously head of BT's wireless broadband division, and Richard Greco, the former chief executive of the broadband provider Bulldog, established Macropolitan on the expectation that demand for wireless broadband is set to explode over the next few years. Its financial backers include Mr Tchenguiz, the American investment bank Miller Buckfire and the incubator investment company Global Emerging Markets.

Mr Jarvis, the chief executive of Macropolitan, said that finding appropriate aerial sites was a laborious process for operators as deals have to be signed with property owners on an individual basis, while legal and planning issues also slow down deployment. He said an individual deal often takes up to a year and there is no standard pricing model.

Mr Jarvis said his company acts as a "one-stop shop" for existing and new network providers, with a portfolio of 10,000 sites available by the autumn. …