10 November 2009

Economics of Wireless ISPs

In the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System, you will find this contribution from the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA). What is notable about this comment is that it contains useful traffic engineering and cost data. For example:

  • "Middle Mile" capacity needs range from 50-260kbps per user and should be 5% of the aggregate bandwidth supplied to last mile business customers
  • Second mile capacity needs range from 100-300kbps per user.  This is higher because it is averaged over fewer customers.
  • Rural ISPs pay more than $200 per megabit for OCn connectiveity
  • Capital expense for a Part 15 microwave is up to $10K and for a Part 101 (licensed), this cost goes up to $15-$20K.
  • In the second mile, a DS3 router interface costs $8K and a fiber interface module $200.  
  • One rural ISP reported paying $4K/mo for a burstable DS3 to support 250 rural customers.  This translates to $12/mo per customer for middle mile transport and limits how cheap service can be.
  • For Internet service, WISPs pay from $2 to $300 per megabit per month to Tier 1 providers, depending on where they are.
There is a lot of info embedded in this paper, though it isn't in tabular form.  Instead, it is in more of an anecdotal form.  In any case, if you're interested in the economic foundations of wireless internet provision, you will find this an interesting read.

Separately, this Wiki, which describes a research project over at KU, is worthwhile reading.

No comments: