Posts tagged ‘wisp’

Preparing a Small Business Wireless Internet Service Provider for Grant Writing

Big businesses that depend on government money, such the phone company, have large and well paid staff to handle the quirks of government rules, changes, and deadlines — but small businesses do not.

Grant opportunities are all too often funded late, and the rules fixed close to the deadline for grant submission. This puts small business at a disadvantage. Yes, you have a few weeks to get the grant written, but you also have a small business to run, and unlike Verizon, you don’t have $400 per hour lawyers and accountants to do the work for you.

So it makes sense to prepare for the grant writing process before the rules are fixed.

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The Stimulus Is Meant To Change The ISP Business

The stimulus won’t actually change the business of providing internet service, but it did demonstrate what the current administration would like ISPs to be doing. Those that got funded were, for the most part, already deeply involved in their community. Many projects were already in the planning stages or had even been partially implemented before they received stimulus funds.

An example is the OpenCape project, which I wrote about here. Planning for it began years ago. It involved local emergency services, educational instutions, and the local small business association.

ISPs should already be working these institutions (if they are reasonable as customers).

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Texas Recommends Most Applications

Like many large states, Texas had to examine a very large number of applications. It seems, however, that the state did as little ranking as possible, merely providing a list of applications that “were deemed to have a potentially positive impact on the state of Texas” according to the state’s letter, here (.pdf) taken from the Baller Herbst website.

No surprise that one of the state’s largest WISPs, ERF Wireless, has an approved application on the list, even though it covers several states, but I was surprised to see Hughes’ (heavily redacted) application on the list as I think that satellite can do little for anyone.

There are clearly numerous good applications in the state of Texas. Many towns filed public computer center applications, and some of the state’s universities also applied for funds.

One of the state’s other large WISPs, Internet America, submitted an application covering 35 counties that is on the state’s list.

Still, I think that the state of Texas could have done something to grade or rank the applications, instead of providing a long list of those that met some very low expectations.

Blogging The Stimulus:
Ofer Tenenbaum and a WISP Consortium

I first wrote about Ofer Tenenbaum’s WISP, PNC.net, late last year. At the time, the company had 500 customers, was growing fast, and was profitable.

When I saw his name on the list of stimulus applicants, I got back in touch.

The stimulus has allowed him to consider a rapid expansion, using the best available equipment, and working with neighboring ISPs in the NorCal Broadband Access Consortium, which he leads. The Consortium aims to provide WiMAX to rural California counties of Lake, Glenn, Colusa, Napa, and Solano. PNC applied for a $3,136,103 grant and a $2,568,883 loan. The Consortium applied for about $200 million, Tenenbaum said.

Here’s how.

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Ofer Tenenbaum and a WISP Consortium’ »