U.S. Software Company Launches Trial of Android Application Platform With U.K. Carrier To Provide “Toll Free” Broadband

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Scalable and low cost FreeBand system poised to bring new revenue streams to content providers and carriers while connecting “the unconnected” and closing the Digital Divide.

"This innovation has the potential to benefit all involved and could fundamentally change how many households consume broadband services"

Box Top Solutions, Inc. (http://www.boxtop.tv), a leading Silicon Valley application developer, today unveiled a first of its kind application platform that enables carriers and content providers to reverse bandwidth charges to provide “toll free” broadband for currently unconnected end users. The Android-based platform, dubbed FreeBand, is scheduled for its first market trial in the second quarter of this year with Digital Region Limited (http://www.digitalregion.co.uk), a fiber network provider in the U.K. and Viosoft Corporation (http://www.viosoft.com), a leading Android application developer in the U.S.

FreeBand turns the existing “user-pays” broadband model upside down by employing a unique software metering engine that enables entertainment companies, merchants, and providers of educational and government services to pay, on a dynamic basis, the bandwidth charges for end users to reach them. In effect FreeBand creates the world’s first “1-800” application for broadband access to the Internet.

Previous efforts to provide free broadband failed because they depended on advertising, short-lived introductory offers or taxpayer dollars. FreeBand, however, creates a sustainable business cycle in which multiple providers are each able to pay for just a portion of the total monthly bandwidth charges to reach customers, end users receive free broadband, and carriers gain a completely new base of customers who previously had no broadband connection. According to the Federal Communications Commission, in the United States alone, there are approximately 100 million people who currently do not have broadband connections.

FreeBand overcomes the two most common reasons that consumers lack broadband Internet access – the high cost of buying a computer, and the cost and long-term commitment associated with broadband offerings today. FreeBand eliminates the need for a computer by providing an Android-enabled device that connects to the user’s digital television. Customers use a low-cost keyboard or mouse to navigate icons displayed on the television screen through which the customer may access provider-sponsored applications. Connectivity to the Internet is provided either via an xDSL or wireless port on the FreeBand device.

FreeBand uses intelligent Android applications at the edge of the network rather than traditional centralized and cumbersome back office systems to track, bill and remit for monthly network usage. This edge-based reconciliation approach has significant technical advantages over previous reverse billing efforts, including:

  •     Minimal carrier operations support required, as all bandwidth is metered from within the application.
  •     Greater security and privacy due to isolated nature of each application (no shared cookies).
  •     Low cost hardware implementation and maintenance (minimal need for new hardware within the network to monitor bandwidth consumption).

FreeBand’s first trial with Digital Region in South Yorkshire later this year is expected to enable previously unconnected users to access commercial offerings and governmental services including video, music, news, email, telehealth, distance learning, videoconferencing and social networking.

"Box Top is very pleased to be working with such a visionary and socially committed carrier as Digital Region on this trial. Not only will this initiative open the doors of online opportunity for those currently unserved in Northern England, but we believe will serve as a model for other communities globally who need to connect the unconnected, do so in a cost effective manner and not sacrifice on speed, quality, or user experience," said Box Top founder, Thomas Sachson.

"This innovation has the potential to benefit all involved and could fundamentally change how many households consume broadband services,” comments David Carr, CEO, Digital Region Ltd. “It will enable carriers to reach households that would otherwise remain unconnected, expanding the market for services and directly addressing issues of digital inclusion. What’s more, it is commercially viable – carriers will be able to leverage the thousands of Android application providers who wish to engage with the subscriber base. We are extremely excited to work with Box Top on such a significant trial, and proud to provide the next generation network needed for its early-stage development.

"We understand what it takes to launch a groundbreaking broadband solution,” adds Carr. “Our FreeBand deployment will deliver an exceptional end-user experience that will truly benefit our communities and generate new revenue streams in the process.”

About Box Top
Box Top Solutions, Inc., a world leader in Android enabled toll-free web application systems, is committed to providing free broadband to "connect the unconnected" and to give providers a means of differentiating their content and products for the already connected. Further information on Box Top can be found at http://www.boxtop.tv.

About Digital Region
The Digital Region broadband platform operates on a fiber-optic network based on next-generation Very High-Speed Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL technology) via fiber to the street cabinet (FTTC). The technology is capable of delivering an average of 25Mbit/s bandwidth with guaranteed quality of service. Digital Region is a supplier of next-generation broadband, and connection to the network will be sold in an open, wholesale and independent basis to Internet service providers.

Digital Region is one of the UK’s key digital transformational projects. It is advancing the progress of the Digital Britain agenda and positioning South Yorkshire at the forefront of digital communications by providing an unrivalled level of high bandwidth broadband access to households and businesses in the region.

It has the potential to become the largest open-access broadband infrastructure platform in the world, and is already enabling a multitude of advanced applications at home, in business and across the public sector, transforming communications, entertainment and business activities across the region.

The initiative is driving a cultural and economic step change by enabling residents, businesses and public sector organizations in South Yorkshire to benefit from services delivered over a world-class broadband infrastructure.

Further information Digital Region can be found at http://www.digitalregion.co.uk.
© 2010-2011 Box Top Solutions, Inc., All rights reserved.

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