In part one of this three-part series on creating your wireless ISP, we discussed what you would need to do to get started, which included market analysis, research, and steps to formalize the business. In this second post, we will discuss what you need to do for pre-deployment, including securing fiber backhaul, analyzing and securing potential sites, and establishing the overall budget and terms with hosts.
Securing Fiber Backhaul Sites
When you lease unused fiber, you receive it from a third party that already owns that existing fiber infrastructure. Leasing unused fiber, or deploying additional fiber infrastructure, is called fiber backhaul. Although everything eventually terminates at fiber, if you have an ideal host property that does not have fiber, you can transmit data using wireless point-to-point if you are in the line of sight of a nearby structure that has fiber. This is known as wireless backhaul.
When it comes to bandwidth, you’ll likely need less than you think, especially when you’re just starting. For example, if you have less than 50 customers, you’ll likely only need a 1Gbps fiber connection. And if you need more bandwidth as you gain new customers, most fiber companies allow incremental increases so that you’re not stuck paying too much for unused bandwidth.
Once you believe you have found the buildings you think have a fiber connection, contact the property manager for those buildings and negotiate a lease for your equipment. Keep in mind that Airwaive provides not only the analysis and identification of fiber backhauls, but also the streamlined process of acquiring these sites. You don’t want to pay too much for the lease, and you want to make sure to get the terms of the lease in writing and have a lawyer review and edit said contracts. As an example of term inclusions, make sure that the lease terms are as long as possible, and that they include terms on how to access the property for installation and maintenance.
Analyzing Additional Sites
As you’re securing your current fiber backhaul, you’ll want to take the time to explore wireless backhaul locations and future fiber locations. While it’s probably not feasible to start with the best options or the fastest bandwidth tiers, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to afford them once your first lease expires. When your first fiber lease expires, and you have the opportunity to renew the lease or move elsewhere, part of your homework is already finished as you already know where to expand. All you have to do when the opportunity comes is to check to see if that location is still available, at what price, and to negotiate the terms of a contract.
Airwaive provides free online tools to help you analyze and identify ideal locations for gateways and repeaters for optimal coverage in your target location. In the next section, the transition from analyzing to securing these sites is also included in the Airwaive Platform. And finally in the budget section, we’ll see that this site acquisition strategy also helps to ensure costs are kept to a minimum.
Securing Gateway and Repeater Sites
When securing sites for gateways and repeaters, there are several ways you can ensure that you have suitable locations. You can drive around the area’s streets with someone else and look at the buildings visible from the road as they make good candidates for repeater sites. If you don’t want the distraction of driving while viewing buildings, you can also use a drone to survey the landscape from rooftops or even use Google Earth. Drones and Google Earth can give you a better idea of how clear the viewpoints are from the rooftops you choose. If you are using Airwaive’s 3D maps, right-clicking on any building structure will launch Google Street View in that specific location, with real pictures of the structure and surroundings.
When you’ve identified potential sites, Airwaive allows you to connect with the 6 million hosts in our database. Furthermore, our platform provides building information so that you can also contact them outside of our platform.
Establishing The Budget
One of the most important steps is establishing a budget and setting terms for potential hosts. You need to budget for travel, equipment, monthly lease payments, supplies, as well as the salary and wages of those who are working at your new ISP. Potential hosts will either have repeaters or base stations on their property already.
Setting up a budget helps you better plan for the future by allowing you to see potential incoming money and outgoing money. Budget categories include:
- One-time expenses:
- General: computers, supplies
- Equipment: wireless gateways & repeaters
- Installation: hiring partners for each site installation
- Recurring expenses:
- Infrastructure: property leases, data transport (fiber), electricity
- Personnel: sales, project manager, customer support
- Software: website, CRM, billing system
- Ad hoc: legal, insurance, marketing, utilities
Out of these expenses, recurring property leases can become the most significant, and that’s where Airwaive can help. With a marketplace model, you can find hosts in the most cost-effective places. Not only that, through partnerships with fiber companies, Airwaive can help you cut costs with backhaul contracts as well.
The Importance of the Pre-deployment Phase
Pre-deployment is an important phase that has implications into launch and post-launch. Especially when it comes to acquiring fiber backhauls and repeater sites, Airwaive simplifies the process by allowing you to define your terms and conditions and connects you with hosts that are willing to accept these terms. You determine the equipment. You set the monthly lease fee that you will pay. You set the contract length. This is packaged up in an offer and sent to hosts within the area that you define in Airwaive’s map, until all of your access point needs are settled. This marketplace feature puts you in control of the price that you pay and your budget.
The last section of this three-part series covers how to deploy the network and operate your business. Check back soon for an updated link.