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Here’s the secret to Starry Internet’s plan to beam the internet to your house and break up the broadband monopoly

Chet Kanojia takes Recode behind the scenes of his new startup.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

If you’re like most Americans, you have no choice when it comes it broadband: There’s a single company that serves your home, and if you don’t want to buy high-speed internet from them, you’re out of luck.

Chet Kanojia says he can change that. His Starry Internet startup wants to beam high-speed broadband through the air, into your window.

If he’s right, it’s a big deal, because he’ll create competition, which will mean lower prices and better service.

Kanojia’s last startup, Aereo, had a big, important idea as well: It wanted to pluck TV signals out of the airwaves and sell the programming to customers over the web.

The Supreme Court shut Kanojia down in 2014. But many of his former backers, and employees, have joined him for his new venture.

But first Kanojia has to prove he can do it. Which is why he took me and Vox Media’s Ryan Simmons up on the roof of a building in Boston this week, to show us an 18-inch box that’s the key to his plans: It’s a custom-built transmitter Kanojia says can serve high-speed internet to 1,000 customers at a time within a 1.5-kilometer radius.

Starry is in a closed beta test right now. It wants to open things up to more customers next year.

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