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`We want to be deemed the superior broadband carrier` in country, Sullian says

LoopTech founder expects exciting year

RIDGELAND — After Tritel Inc. (NASDAQ: TTEL) cofounder Jerry Sullivan helped Tritel to grow into a $1.3-billion company in a little over 11 months, he decided it was high time he founded LoopTec, a broadband Internet access service.

“We think LoopTec has the potential to surpass that (1.3 billion) within the next 12 months very easily,” Sullivan said.

Cisco Systems seems to think so as well, and to show their approval, had Loop Technologies sign an agreement recently to purchase and deploy Cisco’s point-to-point solution for their current broadband fixed wireless services. In fact, LoopTec is one of the first companies to have early access to Cisco’s next-generation point-to-multipoint solutions for the 5.7Ghz UNII band. The agreement with Cisco gives Loop Technologies access to Cisco marketing programs to accelerate the development of a national network.

Sullivan founded Loop Technologies in 1999. He has served as chairman of the board of directors, president and CEO since its formation. The experience Sullivan gained at Tritel as the executive vice president and COO gave him the skills he needed to be successful at LoopTec.

Already Sullivan has been careful to select the best of the best employees, looking as far away as Czechoslovakia and as close as his own hometown of Jackson to find members of his management team.

“We’ve gone to different areas of the world to find the top of the top,” Sullivan said.

Jaap Langenberg, the executive vice president and CFO, joined the Loop Technologies in March 2000 from Sacramento, Calif., where he was the president of Pacific Wireless, Inc., a wireless telecommunications investment company.

There he was responsible for arranging debt and equity financing for numerous cellular properties.

John Greathouse, executive vice president and CTO of LoopTec, brings to the company his extensive engineering experience in all aspects of design, implementation and commercial launch of large-scale communication networks. He previously served as the CTO for Tritel and was responsible for all technical operations leading up to the launch of the mobile phone (PCS) network, including vendor evaluations and contracts.

Sullivan plans to hire people for his customer care and accounting divisions from the metro Jackson area.

Lisa Vicory, public relations and advertising manager for Loop Technologies, Inc., believes the people at LoopTec will push the company ahead of most Internet providers.

“One of the things that will make us a leader is basically our customer service,” she said.

Sullivan agreed, and pointed out that his management team has a proven track record of success. He said Cisco chose to partner with LoopTec because, “We have the ability to execute a business plan and access the capital.”

He also believes that consumers are ready for a true broadband wireless solution. “I don’t see anybody out there saying ‘hey, slow this stuff down for us,’” Sullivan said.

Broadband service is high-speed throughput rates, the rates in which data are transferred. The difference between LoopTec and other Internet providers are the rates in which data can be transferred.

“The technology we’re using is based at a different frequency than most,” Sullivan said.

In the metro Jackson area, there are only two broadband Internet access service providers, according to Sullivan. But, he said, “We have totally different business plans.”

And what’s more, Sullivan said, is that out of about 180 million access lines, only about 3% to 5% are truly high-speed broadband.

“We’ve got a technology here that, from a wireless technology standpoint, those costs will continue to come down and (the service will) get faster. Wireline, which is a fixed labor line, will always increase (in cost).

Currently, LoopTec is focusing on their beta test to make sure they are provisioning their applications for a customer to go online and download LoopTec software or drivers and subscribe to service. They anticipate their beta test to commence sometime early fourth quarter of this year. A commercial launch has been scheduled for sometime this summer, late fourth quarter or early first quarter, 2001.

“We want to be deemed the superior broadband carrier throughout the U.S. and we’re taking some very careful steps to get there,” Sullivan said.

Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at ekirkland@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1042.

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