What does it take to start a new ISP?

Everyday we hear about big business restricting internet. What would it take to start our own ISP? I have a general idea, but I hope more informed people can chime in. I think the key to free and clear internet will be local isp's or new larger one's,  but I clearly understand that there are barriers to entry. I am hoping someone can shed some light on the subject.

Maybe some dedicated members/viewers with the means can start their own small scale local ISP's. Maybe purchase a backbone connection and deliver to individuals or small business.

I would be willing to start a  new isp business. However, sorry I have no further information on the subject.

This might help


That was some good information. Thanks for that. Now I need to figure out about the states, my home country. Hopefully we can get some more people from different areas too.

I would personally love it if someone would start a community ISP that understands what they are striving for,and their sole purpose it to provide fast, reliable, secure internet to people who care about those aspects.  I'm sure plenty of people would be willing to help and donate money if they know they are creating an infrastructure that will benefit them, however making deals with a backbone is probably expensive, and you would need to hire a lot of people with extensive knowledge in networking, as well as provide the resources such as fiber cable.  Hopefully cities and communities would be cooperative, but you'll also have to consider how you would lay the line.  

It would be amazing if a community like this could create an ISP, even if it was just a local one, i'm sure plenty of people here are knowledgeable and willing to help, but it would need to have tons of funding, and probably there would be lawsuits and other problems that get in a way.  If it would work out, that would be great, but it won't be easy.  

I don't know that much about large scale networking, so I couldn't comment on exactly the practicality of this, but hopefully someone here has extensive knowledge of networking, who you can consult.  

Since there are two threads....my other statement 


I would be completely willing to start up a kickstarter type project for my area. I'm in the 10th largest city in the US and in most areas here, like mine, we have ONE ISP. Comcast. Know what comcast just did? Raised the bill by $3. Not much but, no reason to raise my bill. So I asked why...their answer? "Usage costs, there are a lot of people in your area" or as I heard it "because lol, watchu gonna do? Go get the DSL from ATT with a max speed of 6MPS?".

However, that said, I think I could easily raise the kind of funding here needed to try and get fiber speeds....however, I have NO idea how I would actually get the fiber to THAT MANY PEOPLE. Like I said, 10th largest city. 

The costs that scare me are not the main infrastructure itself, but getting it to peoples homes, installing it, and providing proper support as would be needed. It seems like I would need to start a legitimate business, not simply a massively expensive one time community project.....

Although, if you geniuses here as TS would be willing to help figure out a plan, I'm young and willing to try to start a business, even though this seems like a huge undertaking. I know that certainly many people here are not happy with their speeds, and super pissed that we're so close to Google and yet their fiber is way elsewhere in the US. 

We have almost a million people, so if half that many people paid a good $100 to help start the internet that would be FIFTY million dollars. 

Clearly, we wouldn't get that many people, but if we're setting it up in advance for like a year of internet....hell I know people that pay 100/month for internet with crappy speeds.


TL;DR, I feel I could start a kickstart to generate plenty of money for this, but I'm just one young many in his early twenties, and I feel it would take godly help, support, and starting a company.

I would probably offer for Logan to be CEO :P"

well, if you can get ahold of a dark fiber connection, then you need to run fiber from there to a node, which you must set up, and from there, you need a distribution network of fiber and fiber modems.

the biggest challenge in this is probably the distribution network...

I am no stranger to writing business plans organizing a business, but for something like this we would need all the technical details and costs laid out  first.

How does one purchase a dark fiber connection? How much does it cost?

I think for a business like this, it would really be about making deals with certain city blocks, large apartment buildings, or neighborhood associations in the suburbs.

Securing a starting customer base would be key. If we could make it affordable and reliable at the starting location, then I think the business would explode. We could commission out to other nearby buildings or neighborhoods and spread the network on a group customer base. This reduces losses and risks only connecting to individual houses.

Any way to check if there is dark fiber around for sale?

Basically, if money were no issue, would I run in to technically difficult issues in setting this up, or would I run in to man power issues?

I feel like I could easily make money not an issue, but that would mean getting internet out to a LOT of homes, potentially over a full range of 170 square miles.

Like I said, I would be asking people that pay 100/month for a donation that would hopefully get them google speeds at google prices, and I feel like it would be hard to say no to that project, but then my scale would increase drastically. This week and weekend I'll look in to how exactly the internet structure works, and try to find out the exactly supplies needed. From there I do have a few contacts in high tech that would probably help me out with planning and a true picture of running a business.

It's a big dream but SOMEBODY started google, SOMEBODY started all the big ISPs. There is such a strong move for change I feel like it wouldn't hard to find people wanted to pitch in to create change that would benefit them.

Plus, if I could succeed in something like this, wouldn't it be great to inspire people to do things on a smaller or even larger scale?

Of course then the threats of big ISP would come in....worries for another day I suppose.

Small contained community shared large density data networks are more financially cost effective and easier to engineer.

If you can manage a 100 Gb/s community node, you could supply 1Gb/s Up and Down to a 100 apartment building complex.


The next step is hardware. Anyone know where to purchase this hardware? and a backbone connection?

I'm not sure that you all understand exactly how expensive and difficult this would be. The sheer amount of engineers needed to establish something like this would be millions of dollars. Also, despite popular belief, most people do not really want fiber. they don't need it. you don't need fiber to watch cat videos and check email. your customer base is not large enough to support something this large.

I think its all about cost. If you came to most people, especially families and said you were going to give them unlimited service at 5-10x their previous service for relatively the same cost, or less, I think they would hop on board. As far as millions on engineers, I seriously doubt that, I think it would depend on the scope and location. I think the best way is to connect to a but in a highly populated area and purchase the connection and equipment there then route out to the immediate area. I believe you could get most business and consumer customers in an area from superior product and cost. Then branch out from there.

I don't expect this business to break even in the near future, but I would stay it would generate solid revenue from the get go that would grow. And thanks for a long term investment of fiber instead of copper we could expand the network more easily.

I think we would want to advertise and secure service agreements early for the given service area. Get early adapters into a membership with a deal and that would help spread out service. Their friend, family, and internet reviews would help gain trust in the immediate area.

Anyone have any insights for specific hardware and service costs?

Yeah, this is going to be VERY expensive and unrealistic, but if magically a national fiber network that could supply was created, the average user would find realistic implications for it.  Most people who are not technologically oriented don't consider the benefits a national gigabit network could bring.  Imagine if you could truly effectively telecommute, you wouldn't have to live near downtown to reduce travel time, or if businesses could communicate results and raw data in real time.  

The average user does not probably want gigabit internet right now, but if they had it there would be many ways for them to utilize it.  The hard part will be people who believe in those implications to generate enough funding to develop such a project.  Hopefully a company that believes in building a better future will be able to invest in development, and people will realize the benefits.  


This could also be realistic if we all lived in one town, where we all would pay for gigabit internet, and be willing to help and cover costs, however we don't, and people willing to develop and pay for gigabit internet are not condensed into one location.  

That's just it though, companies don't exist to create ''a better future'' they exist to make money. It is not cost efficient to do this. I'm sure that if gigabit net was available to all, that average people would find some uses for it, they wouldn't be willing to pay through the nose to get it in the first place.