Q1. If there is more than one WISP in a
particular area does it really matter who you choose for your
A1. Let's say
you were to visit a hardware store and purchased a standard hammer.
Give that hammer to a 5-year-old little boy with a fascination for
Thor and that little guy will wreck your house. Give that
exact same hammer to a master carpenter and he'll build you an
entire home. Same hammer, just different skill sets behind the
people swinging it. Many WISPs use equipment manufactured by
Ubiquiti Networks, but there can be considerable differences in how
each WISP wields that technology and how that translates down to the
Q2. If the competing WISPs in a particular
area all use Ubiquiti equipment, why do some of them charge more for
the same bandwidth?
"equipment" doesn't produce bandwidth by itself. The equipment
relays already existing bandwidth from the head of a WISPs network.
Think of it like a garden hose. The garden hose doesn't
produce the water. It simply provides a conduit through which
the water can flow. If the faucet only produces a small volume
of water then only a small amount of water will be carried/delivered
by the garden hose. Additionally, because two different homes
may buy their water from two different water companies at different
buy rates, the water carried through one home is more expensive than
the water carried through another. As such, WISPs have
different costs of doing business. A WISP with much higher
costs to deliver internet may have to charge more to cover their
costs of doing business. Cougar Wireless has a very low cost
basis to operate as it shares its infrastructure costs with 5 other
companies managed by the same parent corporation.
Additionally, Cougar Wireless has successfully negotiated VERY
FAVORABLE terms and pricing for massive amounts of up-chain fiber
bandwidth. Savings which we then pass down to the consumer.
It's inexpensive for us, which makes it inexpensive for you.
Q3. I have internet through a local WISP.
My neighbor uses Cougar Wireless. When I look at the equipment
on each of our homes they look identical. Why is my neighbors
internet so much faster than mine?
A3. As it was
detailed in Question 2, different WISPs have more or less bandwidth
available from their up-chain providers. Additionally, some
companies have different ideas about how best to deliver internet to
their customers. At the end of the day it really comes down to
four items. Speed, Distance, Reliability, and Cost.
Historical wisdom asked the consumer to pick any three. Cougar
Wireless' deployment strategy allows us to deliver all 4 equally
well. As it was laid out in Question 1, it's the same hammer,
just a different person swinging it.
Q4. If multiple WISPs in my area use the same
Ubiquiti Equipent, why then do some companies charge more for their
A4. This is a
SUPER GOOD question and we're glad you asked it! While the
answer is not as diabolical as some would like to believe, often it
is simply a matter of COGS, ROI (Cost Of Goods Sold, Return On
Investment) and will power .
From a WISP business
perspective, after happy customers and delivering good service, the
name of the game is Residual Monthly Income. Adding customer
after customer to continually build that monthly revenue.
Revenue that leads to more tower sites, more equipment, higher
earnings for employees, more marketing, more bandwidth... "faster
this, smaller that, and better everything." The CPE equipment
(the equipment WISPs use to connect customers to their respective
networks) costs the WISP money. As do the installation
technicians, vehicles maintenance, gas, cable, and company time.
Each WISP business owner has crunched these numbers so often, just
thinking about it makes our stomachs queasy. Why do we spend
this much time thinking about it? Because the cost of an
installation is the single greatest barrier to entry after our
reputations. If it were possible, I'm sure we'd all love to
have free installations to completely eliminate that barrier to
entry for our customers, but in a highly competitive marketplace it
would then require the first several months of a customers service
to go to pay for the equipment all while the company would be
operating at a loss for the internet it was delivering during that
initial period. The U.S. Government can get away with this
type of money management (for now), but small business owners don't
have a chance. So, customers are asked to "share in the
burden" of offsetting that costs to the business so it makes sense
for the company to provide those services. Depending on how a
company structures its payments for its COGS and how much time the
business can "wait" to receive an ROI generally dictates how much
the customer is asked to "share in the burden" of the final
In many cases, a WISP
business can wait a few months before they actually start making
money after the initial installation which is why many of us still
have some sort of contract term to try and make certain a customer
is less likely to cancel before the company has had an opportunity
to earn their money back.
different WISPs have different network infrastructures that change
depending on the areas serviced. Sometimes smaller, less
expensive equipment can be used where in other cases larger, more
expensive equipment is necessary to provide service.
So why are the
installation costs different? Because the WISPs business
structures are different from one another.
Q5. If there is more than one WISP operating
in my area, doesn't that cause their wireless signals to interfere
with one another?
A5. It is
absolutely possible for interference to occur using ANY kind of
wireless equipment, but WISPs employ extensively trained Wireless
Network Engineers who work beyond the borders of competing
businesses to work with one another to deliver interference free
services to each of our respective customers. When multiple
WISPs provide services in a particular area they know that
overlapping interference is bad for EVERYONE, both the businesses
and their customers, so they regularly work with each other to make
sure they are being good neighbors.
Cougar Wireless has a
good history of working well with our "Wireless Neighbors" in the
Spokane area, understanding that we each fulfill a role in our