I am so fricking tired of having Comcast be the only viable option in my area. Also AT&T’s service exists here as well; but some of it is FIber, some is VDSL, and the rest is questionable. In my state, it is also illegal for a municipality to start their own ISP service as of a few years ago. The law, thankfully, doesn’t outlaw pre-existing municipality sponsored ISPs. And there is also a loophole that one could use to start the ISP via a municipality. But, my local government won’t even allow their systems to be upgraded - they’d rather pay the ransom, and that they did. That being said, I kinda don’t want to move. This is where I have lived all my life, and it is where my entire family lives. So if I were to move, I’d be far away from everyone and the only one who has done so. At any rate, I could move to a bigger city like Huntsville, AL or Birmingham, AL; yet that’s not compelling when I consider the cost of living in another place. Besides, I feel that me making an ISP business would be good for the economic growth of my local area.
We should consider there being about 300,000 people who can potentially use this service. Ideally, I want it to be 100% fiber optic. My ideal situation is to charge a $200 installation fee, $80/month for gigabit internet, $50/month for half that, and $25/month for half that yet again. I’d also like to offer a premium DNS service that customers can sign up for as an additional benefit. Their regular DNS would be DoT and DoH; but for the premium they can also use Pi Hole tweaks. (This is the same model as https://nextdns.io, but only as an addon for pre-existing customers). I would push privacy benefits as well as speed and price to performance compared to Comcast (which is a privacy nightmare - I have to opt-out of targeted ads from my ISP along with some other nusiances). Currently the way this lines up with prices, at least the prices in my neighborhood if not the entire area, is that I pay $50/month for 200/10 cable (ugh) internet… and I am actually supposed to pay $70/month but I am a good negotiator. Oh yeah, finally i do want to impose a data cap. The main reason for this however, is not to eke every cent out of people, but rather as a safeguard since I am not monitoring what people do. I want a soft datacap of 3.5TB (and I am open to increasing that if others think I should); this soft datacap means here that instead of charging an overage fee, I’d just slow down their service to 25/25, for example. By comparison, Comcast has a 1.2TB datacap unless you pay $25/month extra for unlimited if you have their gateway; if you own your own modem, then you have to pay $30/month extra. My greatest worry is getting in trouble with my local law enforcement in the event that someone they’re after used my service to do illegal things. Maybe someone has a solution that I can use while still keeping the privacy benefits.
Anyway, the main reason I am starting this thread is because I need to know what hardware I should use. I know that I can get a dedicated uplink circuit from AT&T for [currently] $1600/month. They give me so much speed on that dedicated circuit and I am free to use it however I please provided it is within the terms of the contract (what I mean there is that they don’t penalize me or cut me off if I start to use a lot of data because I am reselling it or something). If I use two or more circuits, that price actually becomes wholesale. I also need to choose another company or two to be a redundant uplink. That being said, AT&T’s uplink (and presumably, the other uplink(s)) will be 100% fiber to my building. Then I need to set up the infrastructure for the inside. Could I just use a bunch of BSD or Linux routers or is there like dedicated hardware that I need to buy?
Also, I am currently only in the planning stages of the company. I haven’t invested much into it except for thought, research, and a couple of domains. I live in the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama which also consists of Franklin County as well as the counties listed in that Wikipedia article. Because of this I think I am gonna name the company The Shoals Connection, LLC. I kinda like that name, but if anyone else feels different please share your idea. As a result of this naming decision, I actually bought the domain names: theshoalsconnection.net and shoalsarea-inter.net (I really like that domain hack).
Finally, I forgot to mention cost. My idea of the cost is to have as close to a million dollars as I can. I have several ideas of what I can do to reach this goal. This includes also seeking help from The Shoals Area Chamber of Commerce, which actually offers loans and grants to local business startups if they think your idea is wonderful and actually viable. Finally, I can also proably just get a business mortgage for the real estate that I am gonna need. If I choose wisely, it isn’t too expensive to buy this in my area. Especially if I can find an area that isn’t as appealing due to its location since I don’t need to bring people in - I want to go to them. Another way that I want to start this is maybe start off doing a little freelance development for local businesses in my area. Once I become established, that can also be a continuing service that my ISP offers.