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evititoe

join:2008-07-11
Ona, WV

Mobile Internet for Fairs, etc

For the last couple years, I have been providing free wi-fi at local events (fairs, outdoor events, etc) in exchange for advertising. I feel that I'm ready to expand on that side of my business by starting to market and charge for that service.

I know that I will have to upgrade some of my equipment (and service plans), but I currently use a satellite based internet service (cellular 3g/4g doesn't have reliable signal in this area) along with a combination of Ubiquiti, Soekris, Mikrotik, and RouterBoard equipment. I believe that I have a solid and stable platform, but need to make it more mobile and 'professional looking' by mounting it all on a dedicated trailer. Everything currently gets transported in the back of my truck and mounted on weighted tripods.

My problem is that I don't know how much to charge for the service. I don't want to price myself out of the market, but want to make it worth my while, of course.

I also want to provide the service free or as inexpensively as possible to areas hit by natural disaster, so the paying customers would actually subsidize those 'events'.

Should I charge daily, weekly, etc, or by the amount of data consumed? I realize that complicated setups utilizing additional APs, etc would add to the cost, but I'm looking for a starting number. I don't know whether to charge $50/day, $1000/wk, $0.10/Mb, or $150/Gb, etc, etc, etc....

I have tried googling around, but can't find any solid numbers. The few providers I've found want me to call and get quotes or give them all my contact information.

Thanks in advance.

- Eric



tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting

Just a personal opinion but you are probably better off charging by the hour or day and control data usage by throttling the connection. Lots of horror stories about inaccurate usage meters.

I assume you are using some sort of portal arrangement. It is easy to force customer to re-authenticate after a prescribed time period. More complex to accumulate traffic count and cut off Internet access when threshold is reached.

/tom



evititoe

join:2008-07-11
Ona, WV

"Portal arrangement"? Are you talking about some sort of walled garden?

I usually leave the wireless wide open. No encryption. No authentication. No throttling. The most I've done is send them to my website first, before they can continue on with their regular surfing. For private conferences, etc, I'm sure they would want encryption so that only authorized users could get on.

I will likely have to do some kind of throttling and authentication. If the customer is paying for xxx bandwidth or usage, I'll have to have a way to bill them for over usage.

I like the idea of charging per day. Maybe have a data cap for each day, then charge extra if they go over. I would probably also have to include some sort of setup fee. Those antennas aren't going to raise themselves!

Any idea as to what a reasonable price would be? Say 1Gb per day at max throughput of 10Mbs? $100/setup plus $100/day? More? Less? I'm sure I could come up with different plans for different situations. I just need to come up with a starting price point.



tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting

said by evititoe:

"Portal arrangement"? Are you talking about some sort of walled garden?

I usually leave the wireless wide open. No encryption. No authentication. No throttling. The most I've done is send them to my website first, before they can continue on with their regular surfing. For private conferences, etc, I'm sure they would want encryption so that only authorized users could get on.

That is the definition of portal. Users are not able to access the Internet until they have authenticated through a portal page. That is where you collect charges for services.

You don't need wireless encryption to manage Internet access in fact you normally do not want to use it because it will make it much more difficult to manage.

This other thing to consider is make sure you enable port isolation. Since computers are bridged you don't want users to be able to see each other, especially if they have file sharing turned on.

As to reasonable price I have not idea, combination of your cost and what the market will accept.

/tom
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