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Starting an internet service provider (ISP) used to be painfully expensive.

You would look at the resources, systems, and hardware that Comcast, AT&T and other Internet service providers invest in and wonder how you could compete. Since it was so difficult to launch an internet service provider, the established companies have pulled in substantial profits. That’s all starting to change thanks to new technologies and hardware solutions. Despite these advances, growing a small ISP still remains difficult.

Three Reasons Why Starting ISP Business is a Good Idea

Your motivation to start an ISP will depend on your situation. When we talk to wireless internet service providers (i.e., WISP), we hear a few common reasons:

  • Passion For Internet Access. Most people who get into the ISP business live and breathe the internet. If you are excited by the opportunities that internet access brings to the world, this might be the right business for you.
  • Desire To Offer People Better Service. It’s a sad reality that a few large companies provide Internet access in most cities. In rural areas, the situation can be worse. You and your neighbors might only have one or two Internet service providers. If you’re frustrated by the poor service and terrible pricing offered by the established providers, consider starting up as a new wireless service provider. For example, only 69% of Montana residents and 70% of Mississippi residents had broadband coverage in 2018.
  • Safe and Predictable Income. As a WISP, your customers pay for service every month. If you provide excellent service, your customers will stay with you for years.

As you continue to grow your business, you’re probably becoming frustrated from all of the barriers. Here’s why there is so little competition for internet access.

Why It’s So Difficult To Grow A Small Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Why is there such limited competition in the North American internet service provider industry? First, the first and second-generation technologies required to offer internet access were costly. For example, in the 1990s, you had to purchase or lease a large number of modems and phone lines. Second, regulatory agencies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have complicated rules to follow for most service providers. Following all of these regulations requires significant expertise. Many entrepreneurs were afraid to get into the industry because of the upfront investments and regulatory complexity.

Fortunately, that situation has started to change thanks to technology and government. WISP technology means that you no longer have to build complex infrastructure. Government agencies are starting to make life easier for small internet service providers. For example, the FCC has made over $4 billion dollars available to small ISPs to increase service in rural areas. That’s one sure way to bring more competition to the market. 

Clearing regulatory barriers is a good step. However, it’s not enough. You also need new technology to make increasing access affordable. To grow your ISP, you need a way to increase coverage and take on more customers.

Introducing The FW-300i:

Instead of tearing up the ground to install cables, this WISP device makes it easy to offer internet access. Here are some of the technical specifications you need to know about the FW-300i module.

  • Bandwidth. Customers expect high-speed internet access, so your WISP technology needs to provide that. The FW-300i device can offer a download speed of up to 100 mbps on a 20MHz channel for one subscriber. That is comparable to most of the internet plans that many of the national brands offer.
  • Geographical Coverage. As a wireless device, you don’t have to worry about installing cables. With the FW-300i, you can cover 12 miles. Note that natural barriers, like hills and mountains, will impact performance. In our experience, maintaining a connection across lakes can be unreliable so reach out to discuss your needs with us. 
  • Designed To Work In Extreme Temperatures. You don’t want to be fixing broken equipment in the dead of winter. The FW-300i is designed to work reliably in temperatures between -40F to 140F (-40C to 60C). You won’t need to worry about wind either. The FW-300i can withstand wind speeds up to 120 miles per hour.
  • Improve Customer Retention By Solving Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Issues. With wireless services, a direct line of sight yields the best performance. As an ISP, you can’t control all the barriers your customers encounter. After all, laying fiber can cost up to $80,000 per mile! Serving those customers with fiber isn’t cost effective right now. 
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Spec Sheet: The FW-300i

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With just a few WISP devices, you can start a small business in the internet service provider industry. Will you become a national brand like Bell, Rogers, and Telus? It’s unlikely to happen in the short term. However, you can build a great business by offering service to people right in your community. As you grow your subscriber base, you can easily add more WISP devices to expand your capacity.

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