Yesterday, or the day before, I received an email from a friendly fellow asking:
How can I start a WiMAX ISP
Now, assuming this isn't clever Turing level Spam that I am responding to, I figured I would slam together a business plan for this person in 300 words or less as Venture Capitalists are busy people with money to spend.
I will start with the simple piece: you start an ISP. The only difference between a WiMAX ISP and a dial-up service is the final leg of the trip over WiMAX instead of a copper line.
To start an ISP you need (in no particular order):
- a fat pipe to the "big cloud that represents the Internet"
- a big secure Linux server (margins are thin, no Microsoft here) to manage traffic, billing, and other services that people have come to expect from their ISP
- some WiMAX equipment placed strategically around your city to ensure maximal coverage with minimal hotspots
- a big wad of venture funding
- a guru to keep the entire thing from falling apart at the seams
- ... and some antacid to ease the pain of setup and initial rollout
There is only piece missing from this puzzle: customers. There are inherent advantages to being first to market:
- market share - you get 100% of the market if you are first in the pool
- press - reporters love early adopting technology companies
- bloggers love new cool shiny things; you will definitely be the cream of the Technocrati/Digg set
as there are disadvantages:
- market share - there probably isn't a market yet and 100% of 0 is still 0
- remember your venture capital? With an early adopter technology like WiMAX you may spend a lot to get no return. Just look at what Telco's spent on 3G wireless spectrum during the dot.bomb days
- first generation hardware & software are buggy, almost without exception
In short, it will take deep pockets and a lot of technological know-how to roll out one of the initial WiMAX installations.
I hope this doesn't deter you from your goal but at the same time be warned.. there be Dragons here...