“A lot of people don’t know how healthy these companies are,” commented Jeff Kohler, co-founder and chief development officer for JAB Broadband.Kohler was referring to the 101 wireless Internet service providers that JAB Broadband has acquired since its founding in 2006.Kohler has 20 years of experience in telecom with an emphasis on the wireless and financial aspects of the business, and he became attracted to broadband wireless because, with few exceptions, he found that companies in this business were “all good solid businesses,” he said. “It looked like the cable industry without the capex.” JAB now has 170,000 subscribers in 14 states in the Midwest, the Rocky Mountain and the Southwest. In total he estimates there are about 2,500 WISPs nationwide, serving about 3 million subscribers.
The company typically offers service at rates between 5 and 20 Mbps.
“Our typical shot is four miles or less,” said Kohler.
But the company sometimes serves companies as far as eight miles from a tower.
JAB has 3,000 towers and 9,000 access points in its network, according to Kohler.
Within the next year, JAB hopes to convert to just a single brand, however.
WISP Consolidation JAB serves primarily rural areas and suburbs that are distant from core metro areas.
Using the doughnut-and-hole analogy, Kohler said JAB serves the doughnut, but stays out of the hole.
About 70% of the locations in JAB’s coverage area can get DSL and about 40% have a cable competitor.
“We’re primarily a Cambium shop,” commented Kohler when asked about equipment vendors.
In addition the company uses quite a bit of equipment from Ubiquiti.
That equipment is used primarily to serve less congested areas or areas with fewer customers per tower.