There is a town (Yorktown, TX) with about 1200 people in it, about 15 miles away from our main pop in our county. We have not pursued a backhaul to there, or putting out a POP. We are very busy putting subs on our existing POPs and maintaining them.We have been offered roof rights in down town in trade for free internet. The town is poorer than average (way more mobile homes than frame/brick homes, more people than average on welfare, etc) The town is smaller than average, and there aren't many businesses in the town.

Nonetheless, we do get at least a new call a week from the 20 or so people in town interested in broadband. There is no competition, EXCEPT dsl in the 2 mile circle right in the middle of downtown (not within most of the population)

What we were thinking is this: Let us create a wireless cooperative and let the 20 potential subs buy shares for $500 each. The $10k will buy them a wireless backhaul (to my main tower), an AP tower, and an AP, 20 (coop owned) CPE, and enough manpower for us to deploy. The $40/mo (x1.5 for business customers) that they each pay will go toward buy bandwidth from us, pay for the manpower needed to deal with service calls, etc. Any profits left at the end of the year (over a capital equipment fund) get split with the coop members in the form of a dividend check, and maybe a barbeque. Maybe the non-coop member subscriber rate could be $49.00 (x1.5 for business) and they would still pay a $200 setup fee. Coop members wouldn't need to be subscribers, and subscribers wouldn't need to be coop members. A part time bookeeper would be needed to keep everything straight, although we could just keep those records with our books, but they should be audited anually.

The Dewitt County Producers Coop is a feed store that sells feed, ranch supplies, baby chicks, baby fish (for stock tanks), tractor tires and parts, and other farm-ey stuff. Members and non-members can buy there, though members get an annual dividend based on their purchases (2% or something). Its a large operation, but DeWitt County is like the 4th largest beef cattle producing county in Texas (the largest beef cattle producing state). They have been very successful, in spite of having competition, and I think a wireless internet deployment could be financially modeled the same way. Its not that I don't want to get the profits for myself, but the return on a $10k (or $20k) deployment could be several years in a market that small.

Anyone else doing anything like this?
Pete Davis
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