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Siren, WI
reply to Woohoo

Re: [Equipment] Wisp

said by Woohoo:

jcremin, I am in Elk River. What you saying is lease a fiber from someone to MPLS and than purchase bandwidth at a wholesale rate, correct?

That's correct. It eliminates you from being locked into a specific provider, or allows you to BGP to multiple providers in the future. PM me if you want more info about who I've talked to that might be able to help.

said by Woohoo:

We currently have CenturyLink an our actual speed is more like 5Mbps. People are saying $30 is way to low, what about matching there price at $40 or $45?

That makes it easier to compete, assuming that most people are in that same boat. You don't have to blow CL out of the water. You'll probably go out of business if you try. Just provide something better than them that people want. It doesn't have to be a faster speed, it doesn't have to be a lower price. But pick something and run with it. If $45 is the going rate for people to end up with 5 megs, do something like $40 for 5 megs and provide it consistently. Also, you should figure out your target prices and compare them with reality. Will you make money selling 5 megs for $40 once all the rest of the costs are figured in?

said by Woohoo:

Also, I was talking with a retailer of the Canopy equipment and he offered me 10% off the units if I buy 25 or more. So for SMs that can do 10Mbps-20Mbps that would be $270. Should I make my customers pay for this? I was thinking having them buy the SM and don't have them on a contract.

You have a few options. I started off selling customers the equipment at cost, and charging a small install fee. I changed my plan to simply loan them the equipment for free and charge a larger installation fee. It was much easier to have one up-front cost, and the advantage is that if someone cancels, you can go get that antenna and reuse it for the next install. Otherwise when people owned the equipment, I had to deal with blocking their antennas from the tower if they cancelled, and that became a bit of a nightmare. It was easier to just own the equipment and let them use it. Starting out, you may not be able to afford to do that without a loan that can cover the equipment costs until you get to the "break even" duration.

I personally do $100 for the install (just lowered it from $150 because I have an excess of inventory right now and it will make me more from paying accounts than sitting on the shelf. I do make people sign a 1 year contract, and it is rarely a problem. I just explain that the equipment is really expensive and that way I know I will have the account long enough to not lose money on the cost of purchasing it.

said by Woohoo:

And does anyone know who I would contact to lease a water tower for my equipment? Would that be the city?

Yea, probably the city. If there are any cell phone antennas up there, be prepared for some sticker shock on what they expect you to pay them. It depends a lot on the previously set precedent. I've approached and walked away from a few villages that wanted upwards of $1000/mo. And others were fine with $50/mo. One was willing to trade services, free internet at the village buildings for space on the tower. It really varies and can be all over the board.