Wanting to provide wireless broadband access for “the other 3 billion” people without it, a company called C-wav Global Corp. wants to raise funds and establish headquarters in Jacksonville.
C-wav would provide the technology and manufacture the set-top boxes that could work with broadband service providers to reach the estimated 3 billion underserved people in rural and inner-city areas worldwide.
“It allows our technology to bridge the digital divide,” said CEO Mark Lundquist, who became involved with C-wav more than three years ago.
C-wav says in a marketing presentation that its wireless technology is designed to be used by broadband service providers to deliver high-speed Internet, digital TV and VoIP phone access to locations like rural areas and other locations “never before thought possible, or too expensive to set up and serve.”
Lundquist, who lives in Detroit, explained that the company’s set-top box provides pre-loaded signals.
“With the included wireless keyboard and a mouse, your TV turns into an operating monitor,” he said.
C-wav says it offers broadband providers with new ways to deploy their service and is a complementary service to cable and DSL service providers.
“We have a grounded technology that works,” Lundquist said.
Hollybrook Homes Apartments, a subsidized community in West Jacksonville, is piloting the technology.
Lynn Griffin, manager of Hollywood Homes Apartments, said a few years ago he and the former C-wav CEO discussed “what we were doing about empowering our community.”
Hollybrook comprises 182 apartments and more than 400 residents.
“We want the housing complex to be more of a transition,” he said. “We noticed that the lack of access to technology was hindering a lot of our residents.”
Griffin said the technology is being tested in 12 units. He thought there would be more social media usage but discovered tenants are more likely to access sites for Wikipedia, jobs and services.
The service also is available in the community center’s computer lab, which is being expanded.
Griffin said C-wav is not charging for the service. He said he was providing a T1 data line.
The technology was developed by Chris Chaleki, who is a director in C-Wav Global Corp. with his wife, Karen, who live in Belize, and Michael Cox. Lundquist is the CEO.
The company registered with the state July 1 and lists its principal address at Griffin’s business address for Project 180 Inc. at 4040 Woodcock Drive, No. 152, in Midtown Centre.
If some of those names and the technology seem familiar, it’s because the Chalekis and Cox were managing members in Ringtail Technologies LLC with James R. Younger and Robert Lippelman.
Karen Chaleki said Ringtail Technologies was in a much earlier stage at that time and with a different CEO.
“We anticipated high job growth at that point under his leadership, but it was still dependent on having an active pilot program to demonstrate the technology and, of course, equity partners or contracts,” she said.
Lundquist joined by April 2010.
Chaleki said C-wav Global was created as a result of bringing in Lundquist. Lundquist is president and CEO of Detroit-based Fulcrum Edge, whose purpose is to lead companies through growth and transitional change, develop business plans, and package companies and leadership for investors, according to its website.
His bio says he spent 22 years in aerospace, defense, automotive, controls, automation and robotics and held executive positions in Bosch, Valcor Engineering and Grimes Aerospace, among other companies.
“We now have an operating pilot project and have gained substantial interest from the investor community,” Chaleki said.
In November 2010, Ringtail Technologies CEO Ryan Younger and the Chalekis demonstrated the Belize-based company’s wireless communications system at what was then called The Library Downtown.
Younger told the public it can make “affordable Internet, television and telephone service available to underserved markets.”
Chaleki said Sunday that was based on a different business model.
The new model does not want to offer content.
The company was seeking $3 million in funding and wanted to set up a headquarters and fabrication center at The Library at 122 N. Ocean St.
In 2011, City Council approved a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund for Ringtail Technologies LLC to receive $375,000 from the state and the city after it created 75 jobs that paid an average $45,834.
Spokeswoman Kristen Sell with Mayor Alvin Brown said Friday the economic development agreement never was consummated, “therefore the deal has expired.”
The library now is owned and under redevelopment by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
Lundquist, the Chalekis, Cox and others, including Ponte Vedra-based consultant Lanny Wiles, met recently with investors and business leaders and checked on the technology at Hollybrook.
Lundquist said C-wav is operating at Hollybrook parallel with Comcast.
“If you believe knowledge is power, this is a way to provide access to knowledge,” said Wiles, principal at Wiles Consulting LLC.
C-wav says its wireless method of delivering broadband content can reach a 30-mile radius.
Chaleki said that was proved in 2012 when C-wav sent its signal from Hollybrook Homes to Osceola National Forest 39.8 miles away.
C-wav has been testing the service in Belize and has demonstrated it in Florida, Nicaragua, Guatemala and other locations.
Wiles said Jacksonville would be the corporate headquarters. Chris Chaleki said Northeast Florida is centrally located.
Lundquist said the company can launch with $3.5 million to $6 million from government funding, private equity or a combination.
The group also has access to $15 million from private investment “dependent on our securing a first order.”
“Our technology is done,” he said, “designed, operating and ready to go.”