Robert Cringely explains how to start a wireless internet service provider without much capital:

With newspaper ads and direct mail, they could recruit what would be essentially micro-franchisees, each of which would get at cost a pre-configured router (or my preference — a pair of routers) and a DSL or cable broadband account. Since each node costs the VoIP provider exactly nothing, the problem of flaky franchisees is eliminated by over-building the network and conscientious franchisees make more money as a result. For $50 down and $30 per month the franchisee makes $93.75 per month (provided they keep the connection up and running). Want more revenue? Put routers in all your stores or delivery trucks or in the homes of your friends in exchange for giving them free Internet and/or phone service. Your take per router drops to $78.75 but your gross profit margins are still more than 70 percent.

Or imagine a school or a church distributing routers among parents or parishioners as a fund-raiser. Let’s see how long SBC or Verizon lasts against the Baptists. Now THAT’s disruptive.

 

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on May 28, 2004 in Ideas.

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