How do I become a WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider) ?

NorthwoodsCommGuyNorthwoodsCommGuy Registered Users Posts: 1 ■□□□□□□□□□
Greetings all,
I've read forum and searched Google, but most of the information I can find is now quite dated. Anyone know of a good forum or recipe for starting up a WISP ?

I'm in the Northwoods of Wisconsin 20 miles east of Hayward rather near to the old Navy ELF installation in Clam Lake. We're in a dead zone for cellular and all forms of Internet other than dial-up and satellite (both of which have their detractions). A local cellular company erected a tower nearby complete with all outfitting then abandoned it when they sold their spectrum to another provider. We were teased with good connectivity and now feel the need even more acutely.

I'm thinking about installing a WiMAX transmitter on top of the tower and see if I can provide service for my neighbors and friends. There are about 200 houses within range of the tower (taking conservative estimate of range with all the trees) so I hope to do something in the <$10K startup cost range.

I've plenty of computers and limited network experience, but willing to learn and time on my hands.
Any advice ?

Thanks !


  • Hammer80Hammer80 Member Posts: 207 ■■■□□□□□□□
    My only choice for internet is actually a WISP as the only lines going to my house are 50 year old copper lines that can only transmit about 2 mbps on DSL. Here is what I can tell you for under <$10k, no way.

    First you will either need fiber optic running to that one tower or you will have to have another tower somewhere where it has a fiber optic connection and then it can beam the signal to the tower that will be serving your community.

    Also trees, hills, mountains, curvature of the land will all pose a problem. In my case the closest tower is about 10 miles away and i have no trees or hills but due to the curvature of the land i have to have a 40ft tower on top of my roof to catch the signal. For 20 down and 5 up I pay $250 a month, I know what you're thinking you're seeing $$$ but majority of the money goes to maintenance, installations, bad weather, driving cost usually in the middle of nowhere, hiring people that are not afraid of heights.

    First I would check the demographics of those 200 houses, if you got bunch of 55+ and above folks then good luck you will not get any ROI. Out in the country older folks are perfectly satisfied with Antenna or Satellite and having just enough bandwidth to send emails, they think that Netflix is for yuppies. The bread and butter for majority of WISP's are business accounts, a dedicated connection with guaranteed bandwidth will usually start at $500+ a month but if you don't provide good service those people will go after you with pitchforks. There are entire websites and forums dedicated to starting one up, just google "starting a wisp" and you will get bunch of hits. To start one you're looking at $50k+.
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