What is a WISP?

Fixed wireless internet service providers (WISPs) deliver reliable, affordable broadband to customers in fixed locations such as residences, businesses, and schools.

Fixed wireless is the fastest-growing sector of the broadband industry, characterized by cost-effective deployment, rapid technology innovation, and continuously evolving transmission models, including fiber. Networks can be built and upgraded virtually overnight at a fraction of the cost of wired-only or satellite technologies.

WISPS are powerful allies in closing the digital divide, serving the hardest to reach, unserved areas of rural America, as well as bringing affordable alternatives to underserved urban customers.

U.S. WISP Industry Fast Facts

  • More than 2,800 providers
  • More than 7 million customers
  • Operators in all 50 states
  • Average of 1,200 customers and <10 employees each
  • Typical download speeds are 25 to 100 Mbps residential, up to 1 Gbps business

Most WISPs are small and medium-sized businesses led by entrepreneurs who live in the communities they serve. Most have built their networks with private, at-risk capital, and are profitable and sustainable without government subsidies or incumbent-protecting regulations. They employ local staff.

Typical Fixed Wireless Network Architecture