There’s room for fiber providers and WISPs in a rural market

Doug Dawson has a great way of making things easy, such as his recent article on WISPs versus fiber providers, because Doug remembers that it’s not always about the technology.  It is usually about the customers.

The whole article is worth a read but here’s a snippet where we learn that sometimes customer service trumps bandwidth, cooperatives are often able to charge less (and that matters too) but not all coops have good customer service and big national providers have a reputation that precedes them and will make it easier for WISPs to compete. Also – there’s room for choice…

I know WISP operators who are some of the best ISPs in the country. When I rate them as best, I’m talking about how they deliver products their customers are happy with and how they provide great customer service and timely repairs. They are the kind of ISP that builds customer loyalty. I fully expect high-quality WISPs to be able to compete against fiber networks. While the industry lately seems to be fixated on broadband speeds, there are customers that value other aspects of being an ISP, such as trust and reliability.

I’ve never built a business plan that assumes that any fiber ISP will sweep the market and get every customer, so there will always be room for other ISPs. There is some portion of customers in any market that will switch immediately to fiber. There has been so much hype about fiber that many folks accept it as the gold standard. But the penetration rate of a new fiber network builder is going to depend on who builds and operates the network.

I think WISPs (and every other ISP) will have a hard time competing against a cooperative that builds fiber, particularly one that sets low prices like $50 or $60 for a gigabit. But not all coops will have affordable rates, and not all coops are loved by their members.

WISPs will have a much easier time competing against big telcos that win broadband grants.

This entry was posted in FTTH, Vendors, Wireless by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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