One Man’s Journey To Becoming His Own ISP

America is a BIG country. There are pockets all across the land where broadband Internet is slow-to-nonexistent, and many individuals are left with wireless cell service as their only means of internet connection. This is the situation [Brandt Kuykendall] found himself in upon moving his family to Dillon Beach, CA. So he started up his own fiber ISP. (YouTube, embedded below.)

“Cell phone service was really our only option, but that proved to be extremely expensive. My wife came home with the bill (of) $707, and that was the last straw.”

Despite being a mere two hours from the technological hub of San Francisco [Brandt] found himself dissatisfied with the level of service he was receiving from his provider. However, instead of shredding his current contract altogether he decided to go directly to the source. He tracked down the location of the AT&T cell tower in his area and made every call he could in order to find out who was in charge of “opening up the taps”. Months of negotiation between AT&T and [Brandt] ensued and eventually resulted in a fiber line being installed directly into his garage.

The story didn’t stop there, because [Brandt] took it upon himself to spread the wealth by providing his neighbors with Wi-Fi access to the fiber optic line in exchange for a small monthly fee. Employing the use of industrial-grade small cell transmitters he essentially created a point-to-point network along his neighbors’ roofs. [Brandt’s] garage serves as the network monitoring hub enabling him to diagnose any traffic issues. What began as one man seeking decent internet speeds burgeoned into a journey to becoming his own ISP which now serves over 100 other residents of the Dillon Beach area.

[Via CBS San Francisco]

117 thoughts on “One Man’s Journey To Becoming His Own ISP

  1. How long before the local baron lord, I mean only ISP in the area sues him out of existance because they’re loosing their stranglehold because this guy is providing the 21st centuary equivilant of bringing unrestricted print to the paupers?

        1. That’s the kind of comment that I love. I was “virtually stranded” in Mexico not long ago with terrible internet with similar specs. It was painful checking-in for my flight, and AeroMexico phone customer service is nearly non-existant.

          1. I’m not sure the hardware involved makes this relevant, but this comment so makes me want to get on top of the roof and re-point my antenna because the wind did some recent nastiness, or the the leaves filled out in the trees nearby. Boy I’m glad those days are over for me. Many conolences polobunny. :-)

    1. They don’t do that anymore, too expensive, they say “BARK” and somebody who takes bribes in congress makes it illegal to compete with ISPs as a rider on a gutted bill originally meant to help charitable giving.

      1. I am a network engineer for a small WISP that has existed for 25 years and was the originator of the internet backbone in this area. People act as though internet access is a God-given right akin to free speech and breathable air. The majority of people have no idea the work, money and personal sacrifice that goes into providing them service. This country has an enormous sense of entitlement; how sad it is. It may be a much different story for large ISPs (who, between them and the never ending government-grant-funded “new guys in town” brute force us little guys out of business), but this stuff isn’t cost free like a large portion of the country thinks.

        1. I hope your joking?? Can you book a plane flight without the internet?? ever try looking up you kids grades when they are posted? When your kids get homework assignments and they want to post their homework? The answer to your question is outstanding right it’s your god given right to have something that’s 100% required to go through life now. You probably think you don’t really need gas, electric, or water for your house too…

  2. Typical need to eliminate poor service by another corporate slouch.
    Provide the people with ‘barely enough’ service, charge ever increasing fees, throttle service, then demand more fees, such as being billed for being a customer…hidden as a customer service fee.

    WHY NOT ROLL YOUR OEN..BE YOUR OWN BOSS, CONTROL THE PROCESS?

  3. I’ve got sucky to no internet service in this rural area, but live within a half mile from at least seven fiber lines. I’ve been a half mile from DSL for over a decade and coax is nearly ten miles away.

    Anybody have an idea how much it would cost to do a basic fiber to the door solution before subsidies? Obviously, distributing it out further would be a separate issue.

    1. find someone with a good internet connection, place a RF link from his roof to yours and pay that person a rent for using his roof.Where I used to live the only option we had was to have a Ubiquity wireless linking to the antenna in the roof of someone close to the road where the fiber optics run between towns.

      1. Ubiquity is a cheap ($<200) solution. Mount them up high, so you have line of sight, and on solid mounts so they don't whip around in the wind, and you're good to go.

        Buy your neighbor dinner out ora case of craft beer a couple times a year, and you're all set :-)

    2. Way cheaper to set up a point to point RF link over 2.4ghz. No license needed for that spectrum if you stay within the EIRP. I believe the EIRP is around 60 watts for point to point. It can be accomplished with off the shelf routers running DDWRT. The antennas are replaced with satellite dishes or yagi. The dishes are a little bigger then standard Direct TV dishes. The biggest cost would be putting up the towers to get good elevation. It would still come in way cheaper then fiber of coax. A half mile should be no problem with most terrain.

      1. Fifteen years ago I was doing exactly what you are talking about, standing on rooftops, pointing antennas at each other. It was tedious, not entirely safe, not always appreciated, and vulnerable to weather events. At least where I live, where the ground is soft and easy to dig in, burying fiber makes more sense, but if the ground was rock, I’d think differently. :-) (tungsten carbide cutters to the rescue?)

    1. No kidding. The population density isn’t even that low, those houses are right on top of one another! This guy isn’t exactly in rural Idaho or anything. But, ya know, they had some other ISP in the area providing maybe DSL (I didn’t hear what exactly) and that’s been helpfully classified as “broadband” by Ajit Pai and his ISP overlords.

  4. It’s no better in Australia-

    I for a long time provided internet access to neighbors as I was one of luck ones to get an ADSL connection in the area – allegedly no spare ports.

    Things improved Only 2 years ago – every on e in the area can get a “broadband” connection now,but there are plenty of places where it’s still the thing of science fiction

  5. Suddenly one of the big providers will discover they CAN actually provide high speed in that area…

    Seen it in some cities here, typically there will be a DSL dead zone, that used to be on it’s own branch exchange, but sometime it all got halfassed patched through to a main exchange at the other end of town, meaning 10 miles of copper in a dogleg, half of which dates from the 60s or earlier, getting 1.5 Mbit if you’re lucky. Cable is available, but while the DSL is so bad, has a monopoly of the type of “It’s 10x faster than the DSL… sometimes” because it’s oversubscribed and craps out in the evenings. Anyhoo, telco did start rolling out fibre eventually, and cableco found it could actually upgrade equipment to handle high load and higher speeds…. when it had competition.

  6. AT&T has fiber on the pole by my house. Adjacent. They want $700/mo for 10×10 for a “dedicated” (Telco grade) connection… They have no plans of deploying “shared” fiber infrastructure in my neighborhood. So here, in the capital city of Indianapolis Indiana, within the city limits, my options are $700/mo industrial fiber or LTE… LTE it is for me I guess.

      1. I’m not sharing a 10×10 for $700/mo… you can’t even stream 2 Netflix streams at once on that, how are you going to convince 10 people that splitting it 10 ways for $70/ea is a good deal? Their best price was a gigabit, but it was $2k/mo. I’m no stranger to wireless ISPs… the ironic part is my dad owns and operates one in my hometown. He has gear rotating out on a pretty regular basis. The problem now is that any time you knock on anyone’s door anymore, you’re immediately treated like a serial killer and can’t even get the first word out. It was absolutely my plan to get a cable connection a mile down the road and link it to myself…

    1. Ask them about business grade service, and where it’s available.

      Around here (Comcrap, MA) business grade is more like common carrier — they don’t restrict what you can do with it. It’s like 10x the cost of consumer grade, but the contract doesn’t limit it as much.

      1. Oh, they’ll restrict you all to hell if they don’t like you for some reason. I blew the whistle on them shaping packets destined/originating on a comeptior’s connection to the my State AG. I have a 100/100 Comcast Business connection, my employer has a datacenter in the Westin Building in Seattle, the office I work out of has a 100/100 connection through CentruyLink. Both Century Link and Comcast have their points-of-presence at the Westin Building, even having our datacenter’s connections (4x 10G) connected to the same Add/Drop clusters for NTT, Global-Crossing, XO Communications, and Level-3 as both CenturyLink and Comcast.

        My connection between my home and the DC would get me 99 Mbps, the office to the DC would get me 95 Mbps. But home-office connections would top out at about 35-40 Mbps. Now when I set up an old router to use as a VPN concentration and I would connect both my home computer and my office computer to it, I can get 85-90 Mbps between my home and my office.

        After running those tests multiple times, compiling the results, and shipping it off to the AG, I started getting my service cut for “Violating the terms of Service”. I sent those notices onto my lawyer, and they are legally allowed to do it. And reselling services will certainly earn you their wrath.

    1. We had a local dialup provider for the longest time even as DSL and Cable began to roll out in our semi-small town. This was the end of the 90s, early 00s.
      I think we paid $20 a month for dialup, no restrictions or such, and they were local so no telephone bill hikes. Plus the techs/customer service was super helpful. I think they were technicians first, customer service second. They’d just rather have it work 99% of the time instead of give the runaround.
      They lasted until like 2004 or so, when Earthlink ramped up their efforts to spread DSL. Once we switched, then we realized what kind of runaround an ISP can do.

      Bit of rose tinted nostalgia, but they worked well enough that I could download a 700MB trial of Q3 Team Arena in one night with a download manager. Impressive enough for dialup.
      (We should’ve gone for ISDN, but I was a kid. Good enough for me.)

      1. I think I’d get diallup again as back up if I moved out of town. There’s still one or two diallup ISPs around serving rural customers. Rural high speed is microwave dish wireless or similar, and although speed can be okay, they often have cell company like bandwidth limits as low as 5 or 10 Gigabytes a month, and if you keep your 56K humming that can get 18GB through over a month, so I’d route all my “I can wait for it” load over it.

        1. Use to do that when the bottom fell out of the economy. Quite doable when one doesn’t really need the landline for anything else. I believe the latest standard had drop and resume with the phone line.

      1. I’m familiar with a guy who did fine write-ups, good pictures and a twice weekly blog who had several thousand followers. He tried video and his following jumped, jumped to several times what it had been.
        He stopped writing and went to all video … he get’s more people all the time, most don’t realize that he ever wrote.
        Sad times if you ask me.

    1. Yeah, it’s a nice and polished video but no technical information at all. The Mimosa-Link isn’t really helpfull too. I would like to know what all these little boxes in the garage exactly do and how they interact.

      1. Not having an existing infrastructure is sometimes an advantage, you build new with newest tech instead of kludging things to keep the existing one ;-)
        This is why China is building high-speed trains like crazy and previously near-3rd-world countries have better internet then most of the “western” world…

    1. Here in the US, NYC metro region, we get 2Mb/sec (yes, megabit) for $US70/month. Over Fibre. And a repair surcharge when the company employees rip the lines down by mistake.

      But it isn’t a monopoly…

        1. That seems to happen in the fringey DSL areas here, you’ll get 3Mbit for a month, then it drops down to under 1.5Mbit and no amount of tinkering will get it back to 3… if you complain enough… it might go back to 3 for a month again…

  7. Reminds me of my situation. I live on the shore of Cahora Bassa Lake in Northern Mozambique and only option was VSAT for internet but that was slow and expensive until I met an engineer from the local cellphone company who organized a fibre link to the new tower he was installing. I now have decent internet at a very reasonable price in the middle of darkest Africa.

    1. See: it’s all about who you know :-)
      I have a friend in the broadcast biz. There’s a *huge* amount of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” in the sharing of antenna towers, microwave feeds, internet connections, for public service. If it’s for a good cause like volunteer fire, or disaster services, who don’t have a huge budget, the broadcasters will do things at cost for the goodwill. He has a shared microwave network of video cameras covering a good part of his area, nominally for broadcast weather reporting, but it’s available to the wildfire service as well.

    1. It’s all good fun until the lawyers and bureaucrats show up. A least in America, we are so strapped with massive quantities of laws and regulations that you can’t do anything without breaking one of them. So you grow your operation until the competition notices, hires a lawyer, and and WHAM! you’ve got a fine or a lawsuit that you didn’t see coming. then the party’s over. We need regulations on lawyers and bureaucrats, preferably led by the game and parks commission.

  8. I drove from Vaasa in Finland to Kirkenes in Norway some months ago.

    The road went through wilderness where you could drive for hours only seeing trees, rivers and lakes.

    My children had 3G – 4G connection on their phones through the complete trip. Have to love Finland for that =)

    1. #metoo – I too have been exploited by ISPs and it is an injustice.

      The author made a great article but sure “punched the tar baby” with this one, calling up the rage and frustration of vast numbers of people complaining. …..good heavens…I’m sitting here complaining about people complaining…. IT’S A TRAP!!! Can we ever get out? I see myself sitting here unable to move, covered in tar. …oh no what’s that I see coming? … Feathers too!! …

      In life, everyone is a victim and everyone is an offender. Calvin was right, people are born evil and have to be taught to be good. We can either descend into increasing hostility, offence, and victimhood or break out into kindness, benevelence, and mercy. One option is easy and leads to death. The other is hard but leads to life.

    2. Hej Kim!

      In the middle of a city that I visited this week (well Smedsby…) the only option is 4G connection to the house. You get 2 MBit/s on the 4G 100Mbit plan that cost you 20€/month. And shitty ping. This is on a non-rural area. All the big ISPs in Finland have caught the population in a money-milking trap with their 4G plans and no affordable wired connections. The big ISPs refuse to build fibre! I’m fine with 1 MBit/s phone connection or less, as long as the house can have a fast wired connection. Fortunately, in my own village farther north I soon get 100/100 Mbit fiber from a small local ISP.

  9. Sorry for the non technical reply, but how is the small broadband coverage a fault of capitalism? Capitalism is an economic system, it has very little with internet coverage. Furthermore you write that after some time a small company came and actually helped the people by providing some service. As the ability to start companies is one of the basic characteristics of capitalism, you could say that it actually helped to relieve the situation instead of causing it. Capitalism doesn’t suck, it’s great.

      1. But as a premise to your own statement, the poor still have some money to suck away. In socialism they would have nothing.

        Capitalism spreads wealth unequally. Socialism spreads poverty equally.

        That said, it’s amazing how much people can prevent having sucked away if they are smart and disciplined, but its soooo easy to just watch TV, eat twinkies and complain about capitalism. …but, in capitalism, you can be “the man” with lots of hard work, careful planning and the resolve to follow that plan. Unfortunately way too few guys aren’t fully functional men. They are man-babies and want everything given to them and don’t care who has to sacrifice to provide.

        1. I see your point. But, if you live in the US, “the man” that is self-built and up-and-coming only needs one medical emergency and … suddenly he is living under the bridge after $100 k medical bill. Or a divorce. Or malicious lawsuit against him. Or … you get the point.

          If you want real capitalism, state should not be subsidizing large companies (giving bribes to politicians), etc, etc. As it is, it a really skewed model. In other words, it is not enough to be a good man to move upwards. Real wages have been dropping for decades:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_wages

          Cheers.

          1. I wouldn’t want to argue with anything you said here Miroslav, because I generally agree with them. It is clear that capitalism without regulation runs amok and consumes people as much as any resource. (I hate the phrase “human resource” – Personnel was much more respectful to the souls working at a place of employment) But also, heavy regulation and government operation of everything has proven to be every bit as corrupting and the little guy gets consumed just as badly. Anyone who’s ever read Animal Farm knows about the similarity between the tyranny of the farmer and the tyranny of the pigs. So what do we do? We need a reasonable amount of regulation and capitalism is going to happen no matter what. Decisions need to be done as thoughtfully as possible with a minimum potential for corruption. Then comes the need for an engineering decision. The US founding fathers were literally social engineers when they created that three-legged stool of a government with Executive/Legislative/Judicial branches to distribute authority so naturally evil and selfish humans would have a harder time corrupting it. In current days I think we could take it further and require representatives and senators to convene digitally with remote presence or VRChat-style existence so they can stay physically close to their constituents and further from “The Swamp-land” by the Potomac. I say do that and turn the capitol building into a museum, an extension of the Smithsonian. Other anti-corruption technologies like blockchain/cryptocurrencies can help too. Imagine a country where a government couldn’t just counterfeit more money when it wants to. It’s legal for them, but If I got caught doing it, I’d go to jail. We need to keep thinking and talking about issues with friends and family and let the good ideas flow while pointing out the weaknesses of the bad ones. (and grab the ears of our representatives when we can to let them know what we think should happen)

    1. The implication is that capitalism will simply never pursue a project unless there is profit to be made. Linking three homes in the boonies to the Internet is going to cost well more than could ever be recouped from them. Ergo, pure Capitalism would never do it.

      A stronger government with a basic regulation like “everybody gets at least 10mbps access NO EXCEPTIONS” can force things to happen, even if it incurs a financial loss.

      1. This is the spirit of the REA, generally a success story of government regulation. Sort of the exception to the rule that regulations are more destructive than constructive. (even a broken clock is right twice a day unless it’s digital) What is interesting is that the REA is less necessary now that local off-the-grid power sources are available now. Not true with internet service. You have to be connected to everyone else for that to work. If you think the REA was a good idea then you MUST think that some minimum connectivity standard is a good idea because its context is similar to the way things were for electricity when people couldn’t generate their own power. For safety alone, it would be good if some minimum was met. Of course the whole matter will be mute when Elon Musk gets his way and builds his “Skynet” ..er.. “Starlink” satellite internet service that should be able to cheaply do the job in all locations. (The REAL reason for SpaceX and proof that the captialistic model with gentle regulatory nudges is the way to go)

        1. Yes, I do agree in enforcing something like the REA but for affordable / reliable high-speed Internet Access – I was much in favor of the FCC reclassifying telecoms as a “public utility”, as it would grant them greater authority to tell the ISPs to do unprofitable things in the public interest.

          Ah well, maybe in 2020.

          PS: I admit to a personal bias here, because the cable line serving my (semi-rural) area stops exactly at my next door neighbor’s house. So instead of cheap 50mbps DL, I have to settle for 12mbps from the pricy DSL carrier instead :( At least I have SOME option!

          1. Don’t despair about not getting network neutrality. The stuff that used to be on the books was far from what idealists thought it should be. Just because they call it something nice like Kool-Aide doesn’t mean you should drink it. Personally I wouldn’t “drink” any of that swamp water coming from Washington D.C. I say just let the states and smaller jurisdictions decide how the citizens should be treated. Yes I am very much on the libertarian side of the the libertarian vs. statist spectrum. I’ve been let-down/attacked/exploited by too many people in authority to want to trust power to anyone I can’t reach out and touch if I have to. People are not born naturally good. They have to be taught to be good and in a politically correct world it’s hard to teach that. Consequently people are becoming less trustworthy and thus poor investments in authority. Best to keep the authority close where you can watch it. (or be it) Some day we’ll give net neutrality another shot, perhaps sooner than you think and with better quality. The current leadership just might choose to put some things right like blocking censorship in public forums without due process, allowing anyone who has something to say to be heard by anyone who wants to listen. Sounds fair and civilized, don’t you think?

  10. Look up the Federal Universal Service Fund. Every landline phone customer in the USA pays a fee that goes into FUSF. FUSF is supposed to be available to telcos to subsidize all types of telecommunications, including broadband internet. But the big companies (ILECs or Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers) typically will only use FUSF money for basic ‘lifeline’ voice phone service, and the requirements to tap FUSF makes it pretty much impossible for the little guys (CLECs or Competitive Local Exchange Carriers) to use FUSF money.

    1. A lot more money goes into that fund than comes out, I suspect. And what does come out, seems to be used very inefficiently, by a small group of companies who are well-connected to politicians.

      Otherwise, we’d have rural broadband by now (considering that there is no more market for wireline telephone service)

    2. To all of the people that pay into the Universal Service Fund. Thank you! And I am not joking. The company in Alaska I work for qualifies for USAC subsidies at 97%. The ISP charges us $20,000 per month more or less (That’s not a typo $20k). We pay %3 of that and the rest is passed onto the Universal Service Fund to pay.

      For that cost we get an 80×80 mbps line and a backup 40×40 mbps.

      For my home we get 1gig x 50mbps for $190/m no caps.

  11. Same crap in the UK due to corporate monopoly.
    I’m on “fibre”.
    But that is fibre to the cabinet then over copper and aluminium installed over different time frames doing a dog leg of 1500metres to my house.
    Crow flies to the cab is approx 300metres.

    They wont upgrade fibre to the premises or even to a nearer cabinet because there is no competition for the “last mile” in the UK due to a monopoly offering from the incumbent.
    Privatisation is good for you. Not.

      1. Since this is a hacking forum, it sounds like a perfect time to discussing getting the most from the least. Leave the social commentary and belly-aching for all the other me-too sites.

  12. So AT&T is “cool” with this guy re-selling their connectivity ? Typically most, if not all, residential contracts specifically exclude such arrangements. Sort of like the typical auto insurance policy excluding “for hire” use of the vehicle (so all those uber drivers might be in for a very rude awakening when they get involved in a serious accident and make a claim on the policy).

    1. This is absolutely not a “residential” contract… This is an industrial-grade connection, not even “commercial” at this point… This is the stuff that every ISP buys to feed their customers.

      1. So if the local Home Depot has a similar connection and then decides it wants to go into the ISP business using that “industrial grade” connection, you think AT&T would allow that to happen ?

        1. We’re not talking a “Home Depot” connection, we’re talking a “I built a datacenter here to host servers” or “this is the endpoint for my local ISP this is why I am purchasing the connection”. This is not a commercial business internet connection, it is an actual “internet backbone” connection that is intended to be resold, whether it be resold by a datacenter to host servers, or resold by an ISP to their customers. He’s using it for its intended purpose. I’m sure he’s also paying *out of the nose* for it. He’s probably giving them $3000/month.

  13. I have often fantasized about the idea of building a local neighborhood lan that allows all participants to share their extra bandwidth with each other, still guaranteeing that they get what they are paying for from their ISP. If I’m buying 25Mbps but only using 3Mbs I could share out the other 22, but if things get busier for me then I share less. It would require the lan to be solidly in between each customer and their own internet connection which, although technically possible, it is socially impossible. Like socialism, the people who contribute become increasingly exploited by freeloaders until the whole system collapses and everyone gets cynical. Calvin was right. People are naturally evil and have to learn to be good, but learn we can, but only up to a point. Personally, I think isps should be small and run by local municipal entities, preferably broken up small enough that they are actually approachable and can be held accountable by their customers. Any bigger and they become monsters.

  14. Elon Musk is trying to solve this problem globally. He and his investors see the huge profits cell phone service providers are making along with their weaknesses. They know that if they could get enough high value satellites up cheaply enough they could “eat their lunch” with a superior, less expensive service. Imagine how much better your cell phone service would be if the “tower” was overhead rather than back behind the hill somewhere. (Actually I think this plan is what SpaceX is really about, selling the idea of making humanity multi-planetary, and making the money providing cellphone service to EVERYBODY, raking in the trillions. – I would expect him to do both – double win)

      1. The problem is already solved. Current satellite internet services like Hughsnet involve geostationary “birds” in the air, way out there as far out as the Earth’s circumference (a proportional coincidence) Starlink’s (or Skynet’s if you prefer) satellites will only be a few hundred miles up and could potentially be faster than fiber if implemented well. The speed of light in space is significantly faster than it is in fiber, enough so that a packet generated in Tokyo, routed to a nearby satellite above and then through the grid of satellites and down to London could be faster than we’ve ever seen between the two cities.

      2. Clearly you didn’t see SpaceX’s plan to put THOUSANDS of satellites only a two hundred or so miles above you. Not 30,000 miles away in geostationary. Performance, latency wise is actually likely to be FASTER than fiber due to the velocity of propagation of radio waves in vacuum and atmosphere vs photons in glass.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starlink_(satellite_constellation)

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velocity_factor
        Fiber @ about 67%VF vs Air dielectric @ 93%VF and vacuum @ 100%VF
        So if bits travel in 200 miles of fiber they will be 30% more latent due to physics and you can’t beat that.

        https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/11/private-microwave-networks-financial-hft/
        “The second reason, as we’ve already alluded to, is that microwave networks—somewhat surprisingly—can have lower latency than fibre.”

        For me I will be one of the first to subscribe to Starlink because of this.

      3. Starlink is a constellation of LEO sats in 680 mile orbits that talk to each other and ground stations in mesh network vs a more traditional GEO sat in a 22,000 mile high orbit so latency is much less of a less of a problem.

        1. Wonder if the cable companies (who are ISPs as well) will use some of the same attack ads they did when dishes (C and Ku) came out? Personally I’d give LEO a serious look, along with 5G, and fixed wireless, the broadband market should heat up quite a bit.

  15. I live in the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex and in my side of town I only have ATT 1.5mps internet as wired option. I’m using nextlink, they provide a 25mps connection using microwave receivers pointed at communications towers. Works well and definitely better than satelite or cellular options.

        1. ” in exchange for a small monthly fee”

          Sounds like he’s running a business right there (collecting that “small monthly fee” – kind of like what a union does of all it’s members).

  16. “…the bill (of) $707, and that was the last straw.”
    I hate when that happens.
    And still people wonder why other people ask questions when hackaday places a silly 10MByte .gif within an article. An article that in most cases also has a youtube video, just a few lines of text below, showing exactly the same thing.

  17. Well, he’s probably breaking the law for operating a business without a license. Possibly problems with the FCC since he’s operating an ISP. Oh, and don’t forget the State Public Service Commission, they will DEFINITELY want to have words with him. The various state, local, and federal tax commisioners will want to talk to him about collecting taxes from his customers for the service. The FCC might want to get involved because of this too since he’s operating under their aegis.

    Add to the fact that if the fiber link he has is possibly for residential use he’s violation of his service contract, so that is at minimum a loss of service and possibly a lawsuit to boot.

    Looks like he’s gonna have a lot of people to answer to because somebody posted this video….

    1. He started an ISP business when others were not serving a market. The case study on Mimosa networks shows he did a business plan, research and negeogated for months. That is not a residential fiber or he would have no need to start the business he did. He is using unlicensed spectrum for the radio links so the FCC has no play unless the radios are outputting too much signal and that would fall back on Mimosa to resolve. The FCC does not really regulate internet providers (yet).

      The fact in this case is that you didn’t read anything about the network and assumed that this is somehow wrong. Frankly the guy is a hero for stepping up and doing as an individual something about helping others get online. Whatever gave you the impression he did anything wrong?

  18. This reminds me of the hell I had with satellite based internet as I used to live rural. I researched many things but could never find a better option. No fiber as not even the town 25 miles away on a dirt road had fiber. (Still doesn’t as said town is slowly dying…) We couldn’t even get DSL as sure we had power and phone but according to the area providers we were all of a half mile beyond the limit of the DSL station for the region. That sucked to hear. I was desperate as my internet was all of 25GB of bandwidth for like $100+ a month. I always ran out of bandwidth and the speeds were horrid. I was lost for a solution. I researched many things to fix the problem but they were all too expensive. Then the solution found me in a rather interesting way.

    The area had AT&T cell coverage complete with 3G data service. The signal was a bit weak but was there. I hatched a plan. I used apps on my phone and public maps to find the cell towers we were on for the region. I knew the general direction due to time zone differences. (I live near a time zone line.) So I researched the AT&T unlimited data plans and got sad again as it would be impossible for me to get one. But then eBay saved my butt. I found a listing for sales of a few data plan lines from an AT&T business line. The whole plan is not “true unlimited” but with 9.3 TERABYTES of bandwidth a month I figured it was plenty. (Most I ever used in a month was 400 GB due to Steam library downloading on new PC.) Best part of this plan. NO THROTTLING and a claim of having network priority on a tower due to the nature of the business plan these lines run on. I can confirm now I get speeds that are faster than at least 95% of the USA on a regular basis with where I live now. In fact, I break 100 megabits a second at my current home on the phone I have the data SIM card in. (Dual SIM phone.)

    This is what I did when I lived rural. I was in an aluminum trailer that blocked the cell signal out making me have no reception inside. I could step out behind the trailer and get fair reception so I decided to boost the signal with an external antenna installed on a pole that held my old ISP satellite. With the booster I had almost full signal strength inside and being pointed directly at the tower it was line of site. I set up some cell based network equipment to turn the 3G HSPA+ signal into ethernet. I simply set it fairly close to the inside antenna from my booster system instead of direct connection so my phone would work inside too.

    This got me decent speeds. Nothing to call home about but at least 2X what I got from the sat service. Best part, the plan costs me all of $55 a month. HALF what I paid for sat internet and I never have downtimes, (hardly ever compared to the always down problem of the sat ISP…) half the price, no speed limitations on the line, AND no bandwidth caps. I still have this data plan I rent to this day and I still use it. In fact, I’m using it now as this building has no cabled internet. My current average speeds here on LTE+ spectrum are well over 100 megabits down and can hit 50 up if the tower is happy.

    I love this SIM as I have internet anywhere I go with AT&T service. The $55 a month cost too keeps my wallet happy. So, what is the point of my story. The point is I followed something like what this guy did but instead of making my own ISP I found the solution to my old rural internet problem and the solution is still used today. I live in a city now so I no longer have the cell booster system as it is not needed but I do use that data plan all the time on my phone and computers. 2 years after I started the line I still have it and have NEVER ONCE been slowed down due to congestion, in fact, I once kicked others off a tower when my network speed needs exceeded the ability to serve all connected cell devices so some lost internet and those aroun d me on their phones were upset when the internet failed on them for a few seconds. Priority network access FTW. LOL

    Never give up as the solution to a problem may be right under your nose and you do not realize it. Cheaper too if lucky like I was.

    1. Oh, I forgot the best part. As I rent the line from the plan owner I have no contract with AT&T. It’s month to month for me and I can cancel any time I like with a simple text to the owner. Granted I will not be doing that anytime soon and possibly never. Keep this plan until the owner decides to cancel it. LOL

  19. Posting again;
    The big issue behind this type of connecting, is that were people together enough and united, at local levels, most could build and create their own not-for-profit local ISPs.

    In so doing, decentralizing so de-profiteering the big ISP corps, perhaps out of business. They’d have to rethink their for-profit approach big-time.

    At least making “the playing field” a whole lot more level, and access to the ‘net much less costly for connected people.

    To me, that would be the natural progression as more of us in each rural village etc., or urban street, become educated in how the finer electronics etc work in all aspects of the technology.

    Costs and censorship and overall control of these things are determined because they are so centralized, in the hands of the major corps. With the ISPs as much.

    They only have it over us because they have the specific techie knowledge, and hide it exclusively, shelling it out to us, for a typically over-priced profit-margin.

    Over there in Utopia, once people learn the “how to’s”, and can with neighbors, do it themselves, and decentralization becomes the norm, all costs will be reduced enormously.

    Then, if the towers etc were resumed to government ownership (local, county or state only. NEVER federal!), and managed as the Public Utility they actually naturally are, the costs would be reduced by the proper margin to affordability for everyone.

    Utopian because getting such corrections demands a big public campaign to bring those governments to legislating the internet, or parts thereof, into being the public facility it is, thus needs be owned and managed by not-for-profit government.

    As technology makes all this type of stuff available to the people, as with solar and wind energy, decentralization (of profit-making) occurs making us less constrained by big corp in each field, so closer to that other Utopian idea, of “Democracy”.

    And gives us cheaper costs-of-living.

    1. Well done. Now you have relieved us all of our ignorance. (Do you really think there is a reader here that doesn’t know this?) Besides if you are in the business of splitting hairs America is a PAIR of big continents. (but everyone here already knows that too.) You and anyone else can say what you want but I say God Bless America!!. Although I’m comfortable with such a blessing being applied to the entire western hemisphere, it usually means the nation of the United States of America, you know, the most benevelent nation in the world, finisher of world wars, and leader of the free world.

  20. His method is a good one but he is really putting himself in business with all of the overhead and regulation that entails. Another option that might have worked for him is to go around the neighborhood and find out who would be willing to sign up for better Internet service and go to the local providers as a group. A lot of times they can justify an infrastructure build if they commit enough customers to it. A lot of people complain that the “fiber goes right by me” but don’t take into account the many thousands of sunk costs to extend that fiber to a home and add the necessary electronics. It take a long time for service providers to recover those costs and usually the consumer does not want to pay any of the construction costs.

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