StartYourOwnISP.com and Network Building Resources

Hi All,

I just saw this: https://startyourownisp.com/ It’s got a cost calculator sheet for the US and a lot of useful steps too.

It’s similar to https://wish.org.za/page/how-to-start. I think we can bring the data together from both these sites, here, maybe, and combine it into something better still.

I also just saw this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p52PY_cwIsA

It is just a reaffirmation that there are many places with poor connectivity and that there is a need for networks everywhere, even in the fanciest countries and places in the world.

There is also a huge message group with over 500 members here, who might be able to share a lot more if we share this community with them.

Regards

I have found another website: http://web.archive.org/web/20190604072237/http://startawisp.info/

And a related academic research paper: https://raghavan.usc.edu/papers/celerate-dev15.pdf - here is two excerpts: “We initially expected WISPs in the US to face struggles similar to those described in the literature about wireless networks in the developing world [25]: flaky hardware, challenging fault diagnosis, and poor local IT expertise. This turned out not to be the case. In contrast to the “hacked together” wireless systems of the mid-2000s, technology, especially commodity wireless hardware, used by WISPs for building their networks has matured sufficiently that operators focus more of their effort on business development than technical issues. One WISP we spoke with in Colorado provided service over a 45,000 sq. mi. area with only 10 employees.A common concern among WISPs in our study was spectrum scarcity. Of 43 respondents to the free-response question inour web survey “What is the biggest challenge your organization faces?”, 22 (51%) expressed concerns relating to spectrum. The next most common group of concerns was around business development (23%), followed by affordability of upstream bandwidth and backhaul (16%). This was an unexpected result: we had anticipated issues around configuration and manageability of WISP networks to be a major concern, but this was not the case.”

Their initial assumption still holds true for any network who can’t charge more than a few dollars per subscriber and who do not have access to experienced staff. A lot of my effort is in creating an experienced support group who can assist networks who don’t have experienced staff. The mentioned challenges will also affect community networks.

Somewhat contradictory to the first excerpt, but explained by the fact that not all networks serve the same economic bracket or share the same technical skills, they go on: “Even if the network is profitable it is likely unable to expand, constrained by inefficient network management and business processes, and unable to finance improving network performance. The high rate of startup failure and the low performance offered by many WISPs suggests that tools for facilitating the creation of new high-performance WISPs would be valuable. One of our 2012 interview subjects who both runs a WISP and consults for new WISPs went so far as to say, “I tell a lot of people that [running a WISP] becomes a lifestyle until you have people, because you have to babysit the network 24/7.” Their advice to new WISPs starting out was to focus on automating and integrating as much of their backend processes (billing, subscriber authentication, etc) as possible to improve the odds the WISP would be able to sustain it-self and grow. This insight was reflected throughout our interviews,would be reflected in our own experiences starting a WISP, and succinctly motivates the design of Celerate.”

Unfortunately it looks like their Celerate software has been removed from Github, and the website is no longer up. Perhaps this is another group that we can reach out to?