In this 3-part series of creating your own wireless ISP, part 1 introduced how to get started, while part two covered pre-deployment, which included securing fiber backhaul, analyzing potential sites, and securing those sites. In part three, we’ll discuss the deployment phase, which includes finding certified installers, defining SLAs, and operating the business.
Finding Certified Installers
There are many ways to find qualified individuals who have experience working with hardware and tech support, but the key is to find certified professionals. You can start by searching on neighborhood apps like Yelp, Angi, Thumbtack, or Nextdoor. It also doesn’t hurt to ask friends and neighbors if they have any connections with experience mounting hardware, connecting electricity, and either building or troubleshooting broadband networks.
Keep in mind that some qualified installers are already employed, possibly by your competitors, but that’s perfectly fine. Other installers may simply be handypersons or those with technology skills working in a different industry altogether. But remember, when searching for people who install hardware and work with electricity, it is advisable to find someone who is licensed, insured, certified, and has experience with the specific equipment you need to be installed.
Defining Terms & SLA
Contract terms and service level agreements (SLA) will define the relationship and expectations between yourself, installers, end customers, equipment manufacturers, and possibly other stakeholders. For example, you may specify minimum internet connection speeds and payment terms with end customers. You may also specify installation and troubleshooting turnaround times with installers. Contract terms and SLAs are important because they identify whose responsibility it is to operate and maintain the network, define priority tiers for maintenance and other requests, and establish means to track and monitor network performance.
Starting your own wireless ISP is only exciting if you have customers. But how will they pay you if they don’t know about your new company? Luckily, the nature of wireless networks is that they are localized to specific neighborhoods. Therefore, printing out flyers and going door to door is one way to spread the word. You should also leverage social media to build brand awareness and differentiate yourself from traditional ISPs. Find out which social media platforms are popular in the local area, such as Facebook, Nextdoor, and Twitter. Keep in mind that Airwaive has free social media and website widgets that can help attract new customers.
You can also consider referral incentives for existing customers to refer new customers. Just make sure that newly-referred customers stick around for a minimum amount of time to qualify for a referral payment. Another clause for referrals can be the restriction of prior customers, in case people try to game the system by canceling and referring to receive discounts.
Creating The Website
A website is a necessary component of your business, especially for marketing. Your customers want to know more about your service before they switch internet providers. A website that gives them all the information they need and allows them to sign up without talking to a person has far more going for it than an ISP without a website.
Having a website offers social proof of the company’s existence and adds to its credibility, especially if the site is designed well. One study showed that 75% of people admit that they judge the credibility of a business based on how the business designed the website and how professional it looks. The good news is that there are several website-building tools that enable you to build your website yourself. These include platforms such as Wix, HostGator, Duda, BlueHost, GoDaddy, and more. Many of these platforms have templates that you can easily customize. If you get stuck in the process, you can also get an extra hand by finding website developers on crowdsourcing platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer.
After building your website, you will also need to integrate it with a customer support platform. As your wireless ISP becomes more established, new customers will look for what your current customers say about your company. This includes how you treat customers, how well you take care of their problems, and what customers say about the overall reliability of your service. It will be difficult to attract many new customers if your existing customers aren’t happy with you. To support customers, you can use social media, Zendesk, Intercom, Freshdesk, or other sites to handle customer support issues.
In addition to customer support, you will need a billing system for your customers to pay you every month. Several options include FreshBooks, Ready, Sonar, Swift Fox. Some of these can also handle customer support requests, so it may be a good idea to use one platform for both. And similar to customer support platforms, many of these billing system platforms also integrate seamlessly with your website. This allows your customers to have a one-stop-shop experience on your website, whether it’s to pay their bills, upgrade their service, or get support for specific internet issues.
Taking The Plunge
We hope this 3-part series has given you a foundation of what it takes to become a wireless ISP. With the combination of 5G wireless technology and government funding programs to reach underserved markets, now is the time to seriously consider creating a wireless ISP. And if you are well underway and have already registered your business, feel free schedule a demo with Airwaive to receive access to our platform. Airwaive makes it easy to conduct wireless network planning, identify sites to host your wireless equipment, and keep recurring equipment hosting costs to a minimum. Click the button below to schedule a demo with our team of wireless experts.