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Sckipio Technologies has raised $17 million to fund chips that will enable super-fast broadband to homes over standard phone lines. The company say its G.fast modem chips will deliver the Internet to homes at 1 gigabit per second over ordinary phone lines.
The technology could make it possible for phone telecommunications companies to compete with ultra-high-speed cable television broadband competitors. That’s a big deal, because cable TV companies have been increasing broadband speeds and are leaving the telcos behind.
The company, based in Ramat Gan, Israel, is jumping aboard the G.fast standard, which recently received approval as a “last mile” standard technology. It enables broadband providers to deliver high-speed Internet at 1 gigabit per second for up to 400 meters over twisted-pair copper wires, or ordinary phone lines. That is 250 times faster than the global average of 4 megabits a second for Internet access. Sckipio does this by using what it calls its revolutionary “vectoring” technology to eliminate interference, or “cross talk,” between subscriber lines at very high frequencies.
“Sckipio intends to extend our leadership in G.fast,” said David Baum, Sckipio CEO, in a statement. “The additional investment will help us move even faster, enhance our product offering more quickly, and provide working capital to scale production to meet the high demand for our solutions.”
The G.fast technology could deliver broadband to homes at a tenth of the cost of deploying fiber optic cables all the way to the home, Sckipio contends. The VDSL technology used by phone companies has hit technical limits, leaving phone companies with the option of extending fiber optic cables to homes. That’s costly.
With G.fast, fiber is brought close to a home — about 30 to 400 meters. Then the data is routed from the fiber to G.fast modems, which send broadband over existing phone lines to homes, apartment complexes, or businesses. The G.fast data is deciphered by another G.fast modem that is placed in the home in a residential gateway or stand-alone modem. Sckipio says this solution can be deployed much faster than fiber.
Pitango Venture Capital led the round. Previous investors Gemini Israel Ventures, Genesis Partners, Amiti Ventures, and Aviv Ventures also participated. Pitango will take a seat on the board.
“The market for G.fast is about to explode,” said Eitan Bek, general partner at Pitango Venture Capital, in a statement. “But what makes Sckipio a special opportunity is its combination of a world-class team, incredible technology, and deep expertise in the G.fast market.”
The G.fast modem chip market could reach $2.9 billion by 2020, according to market researcher WinterGreen Research.
“The opportunity to participate in G.fast chips markets is compelling,” said Susan Eustis, president of WinterGreen, in a statement. “G.fast provides the ability to leverage outdated copper infrastructure to breathe new life into existing investment.”
Sckipio isn’t saying when products will be available yet. But it said that by the end of this year it will have completed tests in labs with seven top-tier broadband providers around the world. Sckipio has already publicly shown that it can handle G.fast traffic on 16 lines concurrently. The company also says it has 10 announced hardware design customers.
Sckipio was founded in 2012 and has 35 employees. It has raised $27 million to date. Baum was previously the head of CopperGate Communications, a maker of home networking chips. He sold that company in 2009 to Sigma Designs. After selling CopperGate and leaving Sigma, he started talking to a lot of the telcos, and they all started working on a solution. Then Baum assembled a lot of his former CopperGate team to build the chips required for the new G.fast standard.
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