Last week’s news had some big announcements and some big numbers to go along with it despite the crpilling ice storm.

After venture deals in North Carolina had come to a standstill,
Chapel Hill-based TriVirix got a $25 million infusion, while Intel Capital, the investment arm of the chip manufacturer, added $2 million to Pinpoint’s recent funding round.

The topper of them all was Targacept closing on a $46 million round.

Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences announced plans to acquire Triangle Pharmaceuticals for $464 million. All of these announcements are
surprising in their timing, just weeks before the year comes to a close, a time that is usually slow in most business arenas.

But there was another theme that ran through a few of last week’s
stories – a number of announcements focused on the telecom industry, a sector that has been in hibernation most of the year, unless it woke briefly for another round of layoffs. Last week it looked to be rousing from its deep sleep.

One of the biggest announcements came from IBM, AT&T and Intel, who joined forces to create Cometa Networks, a nationwide network of public “hot spots” to provide wireless Internet, including broadband, wholesale, wireless Internet access nationwide. Cometa Networks plans to provide the service to telecommunications companies, Internet Service providers, cable operators and wireless carriers, who then can offer their customers wireless Internet access, using wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology, also called 802.11.

There was more in wireless news, however. Sanswire Technologies and
Telesphere Communications partnered to launch a series of high-altitude airships called “stratellites.” They will allow Sanswire to provide high-speed wireless Internet access to the entire continental United States and parts of Canada and Mexico. The company says that its National Wireless Network will make the whole country a “hot spot,” allowing subscribers to access the Internet anytime and from anywhere they choose.

In 1994, Duke Power began marketing bandwidth to telephone and Internet service providers, and business owners. This year, Duke’s third quarter report shows the company is planning to continue expanding its network, focusing on hospitals, educational facilities and municipalities. Duke Energy has set aside $500 million for new metro-area networks in Spartanburg, Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Durham, choosing to focus on regional rather than national expansion.

Telecom news last week was more than ambitious. This column once noted that the pharmaceutical industry has survived well in a tough economy because, unfortunately, people are always going to get sick. Could it be the high-tech industry is ready to once again tap into our constant need for communication as well?


“It’s a great time to grow aggressively, while many other companies are scaling back.” – Richard West, chief executive officer TriVirix.

“All you can do is protect and defend. We know we’re not secure.’ – Defense Point Chief Operating Officer Cindy Green

“Users of the Internet want two things: mobility and broadband
Michael Molen, chief executive officer of Sanswire


December 6: IBM Joins Intel, AT&T to Form Wireless Company Cometa

December 6: Utility Futility: The Industry’s ‘Love-Hate’ Relationship with Telecom

December 6: DukeNet Plans $500M Expansion of Carolinas Metro-Area

December 5: Cbeyond Reaches 4,000 Clients, Deposits $41M of $141M

December 4: Synchrologic Called ?Visionary? by Gartner – Others

December 2: Forget Firewalls: Countermeasure Solution Crosses into
Private Sector

December 1: High Above the Earth, Stationary ‘Stratellites’ Beam

December 1: Sanswire Buys Into Telesphere for Airship Wireless


December 5: Embrex Vaccine Bursaplex Approved in China, Pushing Stock Upward

December 4: Gilead Sciences Plans to Acquire Triangle Pharmaceuticals for $464M


December 5: Targacept Raises Whopping $46M in Second Round Financing

December 5: The VC Funnel: How to Find the Six Firms Most Likely to Fund You

December 4: Seventeen Biotech, Life Science Companies Presenting at SEBIO

December 4: Southeast Biotech Forum Attracts Investors, Presenting
Companies Alike

December 3: BuildLinks Closes on $2M Investment Led by Southeast
December 3: Intel Capital Chips in on Pinpoint’s Funding Round

December 2: TriVirix Gets $25M Equity Infusion Led by New Investors


December 5: Top 10 Recommendations for Firms to Better Use Search

December 5: The State of Search Engines: VP of Shares Thoughts


December 2: Paladyne Approves Sale of “Controlling Interest” to Market Holdings


December 6: Swedish Firm QlikTech Hires Alliances Director to Help with Expansion

December 2: UNC Program Acquires MCNC Environmental Modeling Center


December 3: Understanding Fear: Taking Risks in a World So Focused on Security