My short bio: I've been married 14 years and have 3 children. I am a retired Light Infantry Medic that has served in Afghanistan. I have always been a major tech enthusiast. My wife and I decided to move into a nice mountain rural community and discovered the internet out here was over-priced ($80/mo) and ridiculously slow (3mbps downlink) or non-existent. So, we decided to do something about it.

My wife /u/shakktii is a Network and Support Engineer for a major tech company. She and I have been working together on this. Also, she wants me to inform you that I am her trophy husband and she is the funding for this enterprise

This last January my wife /u/shakktii and I launched our low-latency, net-neutral, rural WISP with no data caps. Current plans are 15, 25, 50 and 100mbps. We can provide service in special cases up to 1gbps. The business has been going well and far exceeded our expectations. We've learned a lot about the technology and really had no clue just how strong the demand would be. Ask us anything!



What kind of line are you using for your main connection?

We are using a 10gbps dedicated fiber line that is connected to a telecom fiber node. The fiber node connection service is scalable in increments of 100mbps. We are starting off with 1gbps and scaling up from there, as needed.

What equipment are you using?



Mikrotik 60ghz Dishes


APC Smart-UPS C 1000VA

Rocket Prism 5AC Gen 2


AirPrism Sectors








Are there data caps?


How many customers do you have?

187 customers.

Are you a real ISP?

Yes. Our customers have a public facing IPv4 address with our fiber router acting as a gateway. Our company is a registered ISP in our state and with the FCC.

What will happen to you if someone illegally torrents on your service?

Nothing will happen to us. The customer with the offending IP address will receive a written warning.

Will the net neutrality change affect your business?

No. We will not change our ISP business practice. We will continue to be net neutral. It will not affect our enterprise dedicated fiber line either.

Can I get your service?

Our service is limited to the Liberty, Eden & Huntsville, UT area right now.

What was the hardest thing about setting up your business?

Finding the nearest fiber node and setting up the fiber trunk line was by far the most difficult thing. The rest was research and network mapping.

What's your plan for expansion in the future?

As of right now, we want to create the best internet service provider we can for our community. We have no plans of expanding further than our area in the near future.

What are you going to do if your ISP figures out what you're doing?

They are well aware of what we are doing and it is included in our contract with them.

Comments: 1336 • Responses: 76  • Date: 

adenansu1148 karma

Has the existing service provider changed their pricing at all since you started this?

Michamus2046 karma

Yes. They've cut the price of their plans in half and removed their contract requirement. They still have the bandwidth limit in place of 250gb. You can opt for unlimited data for $50 more per month. Of course, their speeds are still actually 7-8mbps at that price. Our cheapest plan actually performs at twice that speed and $10/mo less, with unlimited data. It would be nice if there were stricter rules in place on what a company can advertise in relation to what customers actually receive. Fortunately, they've been around long enough that most of the people up here realize their advertised plan speeds are a joke.

vnilla_gorilla348 karma

Do you ever envision instituting data caps? From what I've read (and it's been a long time so I could be off a little), the total amount of data used by a customer doesn't really matter to the infrastructure and the monopolistic companies just use caps as a revenue generating pay wall.

Does this apply to your company (assuming above is accurate)?

Michamus535 karma

No, we really don't. You are correct in that the total data usage of a single customer doesn't really affect the infrastructure. Each of our radios can handle 250mbps of throughput, with no more than 30 customers per radio and no more than 6 radios per 1gbps main link. We never see any congestion on the network, so long as we stick to this metric.

ParaglidingAssFungus108 karma

What radios do you use?

What carrier do you tie in?

Does everyone get a public IP?

Michamus53 karma

I updated the page with a FAQ.

netshark9938 karma

Only 250mbps? I'm using 4 radios capable of 450+ to serve myself gigabit with a load balancing setup.

Michamus17 karma

Are those in PtMP mode? Also, you can get full gigabit PtMP with 60ghz AP and dishes.

netshark99314 karma

I honestly dont know. I've got a friend in networking who is helping us get setup. I've been working on a 70' tower the last couple years and all the logistics to get better than the 168kbps I currently see. I'm in the endgame now. We have a pair of ubiquiti airmax 500's.

Michamus16 karma

How have those been performing for you and at what distance? Longest shot I've done with a pair of 500s was 10 miles at 100mbps real throughput.

MonetizedUser531 karma

So this is geographically limited right?

  • a sad rural internet user

Michamus253 karma

Yes. We are limited to Liberty, Eden and Huntsville Utah at the moment.

rshorning139 karma

Do you have plans to ever go over the mountain from Liberty and get into Paradise or Hyrum? If so, I might even be interested :)

As a Cache Valley local, while there is competition in the form of Comcast vs. Century Link, it is still pretty miserable. Then again, Ogden Valley is an awesome place to live and I can completely understand why you are making a stand where you are at!

Michamus154 karma

Thanks! Currently we are focusing on Ogden Valley. We might expand into Mountain Green and Morgan Q2 2020. I have a buddy we're working on a franchise with planning on getting into Hyrum and Paradise.

noinamg57 karma

Oh my gosh come over to Vernal and eastern utah, no trees and plenty of mountains. Save us from the hell of Strata.

Michamus49 karma

Haha! I might consider that. We're pretty focused on our current market next year though.

VanDownByTheRiverr489 karma

I remember reading your AMA from last year. I actually have it saved still. How has it been going since then?

Michamus450 karma

It's been going fantastic! We've almost reached 200 customers and have a massive waiting list.

kckeller38 karma

(Jumping on a comment here since I’m not asking a question and my top level comment got removed)

I remember your last AMA too, really cool to see how this has progressed.

By the way, from the way you describe her, I picture u/shakktti as basically Superwoman.

Michamus26 karma

You're not far off, though she's pretty humble about how awesome she is.

rtwpsom2277 karma

Have you achieved a profit yet, if so what kind of profits are you maintaining?

Michamus652 karma

80% profit margin at the moment. We've basically been rolling all our profit into growth and won't start drawing salaries until January 2019. Current revenue is 5 figures a month.

brandn30232 karma

How much did you have to invest in physical infastructure? Are you using existing lines or did you have to extend to meet the needs of the most rural customers?

Michamus330 karma

We have a main fiber line that cost about $30k to run. From there we repeat the signal using 24ghz, 60ghz, 11ghz ptp links to our towers. I'd say total invested (not counting working for free) has been about $100k. That allowed us to have 4 towers and 3 neighborhood repeaters.

Sawses143 karma

What advice would you give to someone who might one day want to do the same? I'm going into education and may very well end up in a rural town... I figure if teaching isn't for me I still want to do something good for the people I live with.

Michamus237 karma

Trees are your absolute worst enemy with high-speed wireless tech. Also, pick an area with mountains.

classycatman203 karma

People forget that leaves are full of water and water destroys wireless.

Michamus99 karma

No joke!

Sawses53 karma

Thank you! I'm surprised it was so cheap; $100K is a huge amount of money, but...I never considered it as an ISP-starting amount of money.

Michamus72 karma

Not having to pay myself helped A LOT. We also have a $100 install fee that we use to pay the installers, which pushes our cost of revenue down.

MightyCrick50 karma

I know nothing about this tech. But are those links an RF broadcast link or line-of-sight/beam type? Asking for a mountainous friend.

Michamus64 karma

They are line-of-sight.

Ristake26 karma

So does internet drop if it's foggy or raining?

Michamus107 karma

We've over-engineered the network to prevent these conditions from reducing service speeds. Basically we stick with closer links. As an example, Ubiquiti says the AF-24 can go up to 13km. We don't exceed 5km. The longest shot we've done is the AF-11 at 11 miles.

yesman_8516 karma

How about FCC or telecom regulations? I assume you need some sort of license?

Michamus46 karma

You need licenses for the spectrum you use, unless you operate in unlicensed spectrum. 5ghz, 24ghz and 60ghz are unlicensed. 11ghz is licensed. Licenses are anywhere from $100 to $1500/yr.

Shadpw201 karma

When will you be adding support for Australia? We’re rural right?

Michamus190 karma

I don't think it gets more rural than Australia's outback. Currently, we are serving the Liberty, Eden, and Huntsville areas in Utah.

sock2014160 karma

What are your bandwidth costs?

What is preventing you from servicing more people on your waiting list?

Michamus264 karma

Dedicated 1gbps is about $2200/mo. The limit is finding good installers and not growing so fast that it affects our quality.

denhamj21 karma

On your fiber circuit(s), what equipment do you use for troubleshooting? Also what cpe do you use for your customers for a fiber circuit?

What kind of connectors do you use? What mode fiber do you run to the prem?

Michamus24 karma

We provide fixed wireless service. Two of our towers have dedicated fiber circuits, which are SM SFP+.

ep0niks17 karma

Woah, that's not cheap! I guess you didn't had much choice other than Century Link?

Any plans to get your own ASN, get multi-homed and peer at the local Internet Exchange?

Michamus29 karma

Our network SME has his own ASN from his dial-up ISP business days. We're planning on using that and our own DNS, IPv4/v6 translator and whatever else he says we need. As for a second line, we were going to contact other fiber providers up here and see if they're interested in running a circuit for us. They'll likely use Centurylink's fiber lines, but manage the circuit themselves.

blorgalorp13 karma

in your post you mentioned using a 10gbps fiber line, is the 1gbps you mention above a mistype? If not apologies, I probably don’t understand the domain space well enough to ask a proper question or understand your answer - i just assumed they were asking about the price for the 10gbps line. Love what you’re doing, keep on keeping on

Michamus34 karma

We have a 10gbps capable line and are using 1gbps currently. We can scale as needed to the 10gbps. If we want to go above 10gbps, we'll need to terminate 2 new fiber strands from the 24 pair line going to our fiber location, or upgrade our equipment to 100gbps.

Velthur127 karma

How did you first begin marketing to potential customers? Going door-to-door, billboards, etc.?

Michamus290 karma

We didn't actually do any marketing, other than a single event on the fourth of July. We hosted a Fortnite tournament and awarded and Oculus Rift to the winner. In order to compete, parents had to sign up for our waiting list, which was not a difficult thing to convince them to do. Other than that, it has been purely word of mouth.

TheFertileSloth92 karma

Is this profitable? What type of investment was required to start something like this? Where does the internet actually come from eli5 style?

Michamus194 karma

It is remarkably profitable. We've sunk about $100k plus a year of my full time effort. Right now our profit margin is 80%. The internet is provided by a dedicated fiber backbone we lease from a Tier 1 ISP. We then use dedicated wireless ptp links to communicate with our towers on the 11ghz, 24ghz and 60ghz bands. Recently 80ghz has allowed 10gbps links at 5 miles, which we will likely upgrade to Q3 2019.

makeflippyfloppy50 karma

I’m a noob to this, but what’s to say your tier 1 ISP doesn’t start to slow your entire service down?

Michamus151 karma

Our line is a dedicated fiber connection that directly peers with other Tier 1 ISPs. Throttling my line would provide them zero benefit and would violate our contract.

TheFertileSloth50 karma

Wow thanks for the detailed answer! I saw above a link to ubnt. Is that your preferred hardware type or do you have to go with Cisco for some? How does weather impact the signal between towers? What is the majority of your time spent on?

My in laws are looking to throw their internet to another property about 5 miles away. Line of sight is pretty good, but during summer may have a few trees in the way. What would you use for that type of situation?

Michamus64 karma

We prefer UBNT for the wireless side of the equation. We use Netonix and Mikrotik for our switches and routers.

One a 5 mile link, with any trees in the way, I'd recommend finding another spot to bounce the link or maybe find a pole that you can elevate above the trees. Trees are your worst enemy.

If there weren't any trees in the way, I'd go with a pair of PBE-5AC-620. You might be able to get away with 500, but the bigger the dish, the better.

BouncingDeadCats15 karma

Thanks for the detailed answer.

I’m a city slicker so I’m asking out of curiosity.

Where and how do you place your towers? Do you lease that land?

How do you transmit the signal? Is there interference? Any regulatory hurdles?

Michamus19 karma

We lease the tower locations. As for the signal, we use 24ghz and 60ghz PtP and 5ghz PtMP.

MightyCrick86 karma

It seems to me that telecom lobbyists have gotten legislative lids in US states on who can be licensed as an ISP. Can you share what that process was like in UT and have you looked at other states?

Michamus115 karma

Utah is actually pretty easy to work as an ISP in. We registered an LLC with the state for the purpose of non-telecom ISP. Registering with the FCC was pretty easy but the form 477 was not intuitive at all. It took a few weeks to really get it hammered out proper. Licensing spectrum required a broker, but was a lot more affordable than we initially expected ($1500/yr per 750mbps of dedicated throughput). ARIN is how we received our IP address space, with a temp /24 IPv4 for transition to IPv6 /36 with transition completing January 2019.

RoxasTheNobody9853 karma

It's good that you are future proofing with IPv6. How are you handling the traffic from IPv4 to IPv6?

Michamus58 karma

We're implementing a poweredge server for IPv6 -> IPv4 translation. Our main network guy is in charge of that with /u/shakktii.

MightyCrick53 karma

How do you see the deployment of 5G impacting your business?

Michamus64 karma

I don't see it impacting it all.

PrincePound45 karma

Net neutral? Explain.

Michamus127 karma

We don't throttle your speeds based on websites you visit and don't have data caps. For instance, major ISPs are known for throttling Netflix and Youtube below the customer's actual line capability.

rmp5s45 karma

What is a bot? How to I get it to let me post? Maybe...

I'm a US Marine that also served in Afghanistan...2011, Helmand Province.

I got out in 2014. I was a 0651 and work in IT to this day.

I too am starting a WISP because the area I live in doesn't have ANY real ISP options. I should be live in the next 2-3 months.

Would love to chat. Shoot me a message.


Michamus53 karma

Definitely willing to help out. There are some amazing guides out there for starting a WISP.

rmp5s30 karma

Thanks for the reply, man!

I seriously have no fewer than one tab of that site open at any given's a true God send.

Your thoughts on Ubiquiti? I already had to build a rather ridiculous network just to get Internet at my house...I work from home sometimes, we stream everything, etc. Internet is a must.

I I'm planning on going all Ubiquiti for my WISP. Why did you choose the hardware you did? Any ragrats?

Michamus13 karma

My only regret is setting up our AF-11 link myself. Turns out they shipped incorrectly labeled duplexors, which created a nightmare. Everything else has gone splendidly.

Dreadamere32 karma

In what area do you offer service? I can’t find it on your site.

Best I can find where I am is a cell tower ISP that gives me 3 mbps, I usually only get 1-1.3 mbps. I also have a 150gb data limit. The local wired internet service is far worse.

Michamus25 karma

Currently, we are serving the Liberty, Eden, and Huntsville areas in Utah.

Dreadamere11 karma

Dang. I’m in rural Georgia, we are really hurting out here.

Michamus23 karma

Georgia is really tough, since it's pretty flat and wooded. If you live in the suburbs, there might be someone doing this sort of thing though. Best to keep an eye out for rectangular antennas on roofs that look like these:

CreativePhilosopher30 karma

You seem like a perfect person to ask about facial hair grooming.

How do you properly trim a beard?

Michamus55 karma

I have a mountain man beard if left unkempt. I tend to keep a nice curve to my mustache line and where my jaw meets my neck with a Braun 9290CC. For trimming the beard itself, I use a Norelco beard trimmer and good old barber scissors for the upper lip mustache.

What do you use?

davisyoung26 karma

Is your model only feasible in rural areas or are there applications/opportunities in suburban and urban areas?

Michamus27 karma

I have a couple buddies that are operating in suburban areas. So long as you don't have trees in the way, you can really do this anywhere.

remotefixonline25 karma

How many riaa letters have your recieved so far? Are you doing any cgn or is everyone getting a public? Its getting hard to find/afford ipv4 space...

Michamus35 karma

We've received four. Everyone has a public IPv4 at the moment, but will soon have IPv6. IPv4 is indeed expensive. Our most viable option so far on IPv4 space is purchasing a /22 for $20k.

wolfenkraft12 karma

What'd you do with the letters?

Michamus25 karma

Just responded that the customer had been warned and the letter forwarded. We didn't tell them who the customer was, as we really have no way of knowing who in the household did it. Some of our clients have service at vacation rentals and have zero control over how their customers use the internet provided.

Dane-o-myt21 karma

Who is the ISP that is supplying your fiber, and what kind of link is it?

My company supplies fiber Ethernet links from 10 Mbps on up. We also have a product called GeoMax. It's a SONET ring that large enterprise business can get. Would love to know how much one of those companies pay for that

Michamus24 karma

We're pretty remote, with only one provider present with fiber service. We're thinking of going with Utopia to piggy-back lease, so we're not restricted to our current provider's circuits.

nofear22019 karma

Could you do a semi-high level step-by-step how you did this? I see you mentioned it took around a year of your work full time, were you laying cables?

Michamus18 karma

It was mostly coordinating and setting up new tower locations and their ptp links.

tomanonimos15 karma

fixed wireless on 5ghz

How consistent/reliable is the internet speed for your customers? If your speeds are consistent/reliable, what do you do different from other WISP to avoid this problem?

My local rural WISP has had problems where their internet speeds fluctuate from a variety of reasons but their speed is still better than the local DSL and satellite internet.

Michamus24 karma

Our speeds are very consistent. We simply have very high standards for load allocations per radio, in that we don't exceed 30 customers per radio.

Viperdriver6915 karma


Michamus23 karma

We certainly hope so! I'd be willing to bet someone is doing something like this in Bountiful. I'll hit up some contacts and see if anyone is operating there.

benadril15 karma

"Our dedicate fiber run has been successfully installed. It's blazing fast and ready for action!"


Michamus23 karma

It is a dedicated fiber line provided by a tier 1 ISP. No one else is on our circuit.

computertechie13 karma

I think he's pointing out the typo on your blog page :)

Michamus6 karma


ThePurpleBuffalo14 karma

Am I correct in thinking this is fixed wireless? What equipment are you using for the last mile?

Do you offer 802.11 wireless as well?

Michamus33 karma

We use 5ghz PtMP equipment through Ubiquiti. Rocket 5AC Prism Gen2 on towers with AM-5G-Ti 15dbi and 21dbi sectors. Also have 60 degree 5AC sectors and the AirPrism Sector (3 radios per sector). On the CPE side we use PBE-5AC-Gen2, LBE-5AC-Gen2 and on longer shots 500mm and 620mm powerbeams.

Grimreq12 karma

What kind of cyber threats has your company faced: internally, externally? How would you mitigate a DDoS attack? Also, the letter "t" on your Support page, in the word "Support" appears to be off-centered. Cheers

Michamus13 karma

Our only threat thus far have been copyright complaints and SSH worm attack attempts. We transitioned to RSA keys and disabled SSH password authentication.

zaryakiddingme11 karma

Are you hiring?

Michamus8 karma

Not at the moment.

AlexHimself9 karma

About how many customers do you have?

Michamus12 karma

Nearly 200 customers with a massive waiting list.

AlexHimself11 karma

Do you have redundancy built in? What if a tower fails?

Michamus17 karma

Currently, we do not have redundancies. Those will be implemented Q2 2019.

xblux9 karma

What does your head quarters look like?

Michamus16 karma

Our basement is our office. Our garage is our warehouse. Q3 2019 we'll get a dedicated facility setup for warehousing.

Tassidar8 karma

I’m also working on a rural startup ISP doing FTTH, about to have customer #1!

Have you applied for CAF funding, and do u think it’ll help or hurt?

Michamus4 karma

From what I understand, CAF funding would limit the pricing models we can use.

LeQuackz8 karma

I’m glad to see a fellow wisp having success! I can tell that your network is being enginereed pretty well by the quality of the service you provide :) We also operate a wisp in a rural area here on Chile, south america. We’re getting close to 300 customers, using an AFX5HD for troncal link but we cant get more than 300mghps per link as the distances are long +50km and the 5.8ghbz is a bit crowded as well, so the average plan is about 3mbps per client. Right now we’re installing new AP radios on water towers to cover more zones and to keep them uncrowded, because as you very well know, having too many stations on single AP will distrupt the entire network no matter what, specially if some them have poor connecttions like -80dbm. Its really cool to have a network engineer by your side, because you can apply her knowledge from to get go which otherwise would have to be learnt from the experience. Also I would like to ask which router for clients has worked the best for you and which is the best solution for troncal links? My best regards for you both, greetings from Chile!

Michamus5 karma

We've found Google WIFI to work exceptionally well for CPE routers. Discovering that point you make about a single CPE having low single messing up an AP was mind-blowing. Until we'd discovered that, such a thing had never crossed our minds, as with traditional ethernet/fiber networking you just calculate lengths and it all works the way it is supposed to. Glad to hear you're having great success. I'd recommend checking out the AF-11 for a 50km link. It can full duplex 750mbps.

0atmealSavage8 karma

What's the typical latency that your customers get?

Michamus16 karma

17-25ms to Gamers love our service.

qhartman7 karma

I've been toying with the idea of starting a wisp. Are there any groups you would recommend getting involved with to meet other people who are doing this?

Michamus9 karma is a great place to start. Just start small, experiment and go from there.

ancientflowers5 karma

Can you explain what your talking a about in simpler terms?

I have no idea what you're saying.

whozzagoodboyisityou22 karma

On mobile, sorry if formatting doesnt stick

***There was only one internet provider in his rural area who over charged for slow speed services but owned or controlled the only lines in town, so waddayagonnadoaboutit.

***He and his wife are offering low latency services: data go fast from A to B

***via WISP aka wireless internet service provider: they don't need no stinking cable that the other guys won't share or make them pay for.

***Tiered pricing/services: so Gramma who only uses email twice a week doesnt pay the same amount as Gen Z playing World of Warcraft for 14 hrs a day.

***There are no data caps, which is the internet version of going over your cell minutes and getting a 600$ bill.

***They are not sponsored by a mega millions company, so they are true neutral to content and don't play favorites by giving their own company/subsidiary more bandwidth for their own content over a competitor.

***Also he is a nerd and his awesome wife is the bread winner bring home the bacon, but they doing ok now cause people like their service.

***OP is free to correct as needed, but having lived rural, pretty sure that's right.

Michamus13 karma

Sounds like you hit the nail on the head!

whozzagoodboyisityou7 karma

Well it's too bad you're in Utah. Could have used that type of service in northern MN. Best of luck!

Michamus3 karma


Michamus5 karma

We've set up a rural ISP that has really great ping (17-30ms to California), really fast downloads and doesn't throttle you at all, period.

tauqueen5 karma

Can you give some technical details (hardware used, protocols, etc) around the "low-latency" feature of your ISP? How is it different from the other ISPs?

Michamus10 karma

One of the cool things about wireless is the transfer speeds are closer to C. Currently we have layer 2, but will transition to a mapped OSPF layer 3 network next year. The fiber line dumps directly into SLC circuits, with dedicated access. As you reach maximum load on a circuit, the latency will naturally increase. We simply do not allow any of our circuits to exceed 75% load at peak hours.

shiznee3 karma

What equipment/systems are you using to connect and authenticate customers from your end?

Michamus4 karma

We use a free utility called UCRM for customer self-service and management.

Dredly2 karma

Do you have any issues with FCC regulations related to use of wireless spectrum?

are you LOS only for connectivity or are you broadcasting like a cell phone tower?

Michamus5 karma

We didn't really have any issues, as we primarily operate through third-party brokers. We use 5ghz LoS equipment.

Dredly3 karma

Very cool

have you considered expanding into a franchise type plan which would allow your style of internet to expand into other areas? I am positive there are millions of households and communities that would happily partner with you to run this in locations around the country.

Michamus8 karma

We are testing franchise waters with a colleague of my wife.

turtlerock7472 karma

Is it satellite? What areas/states are you currently in? What do you do in areas that are gridlocked by internet monopolies? (CenturyLink has almost a total monopoly for 30 miles in my area)

Michamus1 karma

It's fixed wireless on 5ghz. We serve Liberty, Eden and Huntsville Utah.

Primaltarian2 karma

On your fiber link from the Tier 1 provider. Are you using a leased lit connection from them or are you taking down a dark fiber link and lighting it yourself?

Michamus3 karma

The provider lights the connection and transfers it to ethernet for us. Next year we'll transition to pure fiber.

monadoboyX2 karma

Does article 13 affect you on your wireless ISP?

Michamus3 karma

We primarily operate on unlicensed 5ghz spectrum for PtMP. We have unlicensed 24ghz and 60ghz links as well. Our 11ghz link is the only reportable radio we have and it is managed by a third party broker.