How to start a new ISP in a small city?


Does anyone have any insight on what it takes to start a new ISP (like Comcast, but at a smaller scale)?

Do you need a significant amount of money to even get going and lay your own infrastructure? Or are larger companies like Comcast required to sub-lease their lines to smaller companies (so they don't have a monopoly).

Resources Lease Internet Service Money

asked Jun 9 '14 at 14:02
Leslie Patterson
17 points

2 Answers


It's going to cost a ton no matter what. Infrastructure aside, the networking expertise you're going to have to pay for is significant. Plus the costs of marketing, sales, and installation equipment, crew, & training.

Some Tier-1 networks do sell access to their infrastructure. A couple are:

An option to build your own infrastructure could be to work with the city government, and see if you can get state & federal grants. Here are some news stories about small towns doing this; some of the cost details are illuminating:

answered Jun 9 '14 at 14:52
Jay Neely
6,050 points


Most of the local ISPs are actually hooked into Level3. You can think of them as the "ISP for ISPs".

Here's a relevant question that might be of some use:

Who provides the Internet service to Internet Service Providers (ISPs)?

answered Jun 9 '14 at 15:35
Chrissie Gray
1,107 points

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