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Comment: WISP is the only real option. (Score 5, Insightful) 239

by wvnet (#41905773) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Become a Rural ISP?
I'd go fixed-wireless. It's the only option that you can start on a shoestring and end up with a decent business. Tapping the fiber can get quite expensive. It probably goes through the local telephone Central Office, so your best bet is to find cheap office rental as close to the CO as possible, and then contact the middle-mile provider for a quote to run you a drop. Bonus if you can rent a space in a muti-story building and arrange roof rights for a few antennas.

But this is doable, if you are serious about it.
Ubiquiti wireless gear is the way to go right now, and there's lots of technical help on their forum and others. Their 900Mhz gear will handle SOME tree coverage, as will the 2.4Ghz. Their gear is so cheap that you can afford to make little house-to-house relays to get into hard to reach spots. Their wiki has a decent write-up of how to build a WISP with their gear.
http://wiki.ubnt.com/Building_a_wisp

There are lots of other gotchas in the biz, arranging tower sites (private landowners are good, but you'll need a solid contract), getting customers to actually pay you (at all, not just on time), each install is going to have to be paid for up front ($150-200) and you won't make any money off that customer for about 6-8 months, service truck & tools, insurance (wispinsurance.com) and lots more.

Go lurk on the Ubiquiti and Mikrotik forums for a few months, and you'll start getting a clear picture of what running a small ISP day-to-day is like.

Comment: WISP is only real option (Score 1) 1

by wvnet (#41904085) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What is the best way to become a rural ISP?
I'd go fixed-wireless. It's the only option that you can start on a shoestring and end up with a decent business. Tapping the fiber can get quite expensive. It probably goes through the local telephone Central Office, so your best bet is to find cheap office rental as close to the CO as possible, and then contact the middle-mile provider for a quote to run you a drop. Bonus if you can rent a space in a muti-story building and arrange roof rights for a few antennas.

Ubiquiti wireless gear is the way to go right now, and there's lots of technical help on their forum and others. Their 900Mhz gear will handle SOME tree coverage, as will the 2.4Ghz. Their gear is so cheap that you can afford to make little house-to-house relays to get into hard to reach spots. Their wiki has a decent write-up of how to build a WISP with their gear.
http://wiki.ubnt.com/Building_a_wisp

There are lots of other gotchas in the biz, arranging tower sites (private landowners are good, but you'll need a solid contract), getting customers to actually pay you (at all, not just on time), each install is going to have to be paid for up front ($150-200) and you won't make any money off that customer for about 6-8 months, service truck & tools, insurance (wispinsurance.com) and lots more.
Go lurk on the Ubiquiti and Mikrotik forums for a few months, and you'll start getting a clear picture of what running a small ISP day-to-day is like.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.

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