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Jun 10, 2024
3 min

How WISPs Can Win: Why Broadband Reliability Is Key To Succeeding in a Competitive Marketplace

A landscape view of a cell tower for Wireless Internet Service Providers on top of a hill.

Broadband is a critical enabler of the modern digital home, supporting everything from entertainment services to physical security systems. But the way consumers receive their broadband is evolving. Fixed wireless access (FWA) technology, for example, is expected to more than double its subscription market share among U.S. broadband technologies, growing from 7.2 percent in 2023 to 15.8 percent by 2028, according to the latest data.

Whatever access technology is used, broadband quality is critical to everyday life. A recent survey found that “very high speed and reliable broadband” was named the second most important amenity for a family home—trailing only a laundry room.  

The key word here is reliability. While attractive pricing and high speeds may be among the key considerations when a consumer embarks on choosing a provider, the reliability of their broadband and Wi-Fi become the key factors that shape the subscriber's experience thereafter. An EY study found that 58 percent of U.S. households agree that the reliability of their connection is more important than speed—with only 10 percent disagreeing and 31 percent undecided. 

And when they evaluate their connection quality, they are less interested in checking if they are receiving their advertised speeds. They are more concerned about achieving a consistent Wi-Fi signal throughout the home.  


The Building Blocks to Resilient Broadband

Wireless internet service providers (WISPs) that use FWA should therefore consider reliability as a key differentiator as they seek to defend against the threat of large wireless carriers, fiber providers, and cable companies overbuilding onto their footprints. A reliable network—whatever access technology it uses—leads to increased satisfaction and trust.  

Conversely, an unreliable network that causes frequent service disruptions can have a significant negative impact on the service provider’s reputation. In the case of WISPs, it could damage their elevated positions as local providers focused on solving the technology problems of their communities, jeopardizing their success built on word-of-mouth recommendations.   

The WISPs must therefore prioritize projects that enhance network reliability and reduce downtime and disruption. This should include the ability to:  

  • Optimize Wi-Fi infrastructure. WISPs can implement additional access points, antennas, signal boosters, and install high quality Wi-Fi routers to ensure bandwidth delivery and improve Wi-Fi performance. Remember that subscribers often consider broadband and Wi-Fi to be the same thing! 

  • Implement redundancy measures. Ensure backup systems and failover mechanisms are in place to minimize downtime in the event of network failure. This could include back-up power generators and multiple network paths that ensure continuous connectivity. 

  • Monitor quality of service (QoS). Leverage QoS techniques to prioritize critical applications and allocate bandwidth efficiently. This could include monitoring end-user experience metrics such as web page load times, video streaming quality, and application responsiveness. 

  • Deploy network management. Take advantage of smart network monitoring and management tools to proactively identify and resolve issues and manage capacity before subscribers even know there is a problem. 

Help subscribers help themselves. Educate subscribers on factors that can impact Wi-Fi performance, such as router placement, sources of interference, and troubleshooting techniques. Utilize self-service apps to improve customer satisfaction, where they can reset their own passwords, set parental controls, and more. 

In an era where broadband is as essential for a household as electricity and water, ensuring the reliability of the service can be the difference between success and failure. As WISPs brace for heightened competition coming from multiple directions, ensuring network reliability has become a strategic imperative.

To learn more about how Wireless Internet Service Providers can build subscriber trust and loyalty through exceptional Wi-Fi experiences, download our eBook “The Way Forward for WISPs: Strategies for Winning in the Wi-Fi Market

Senior Marketing Manager, Segment Marketing

Susan Higgins is the senior marketing manager, segment marketing at Calix. Susan supports the wireless ISP (WISP) segment and brings over 25 years of experience in telecommunications, focusing on communications, market research, strategy, and sales enablement. Before Calix, Susan worked for Frontier Communications, Verizon Wholesale, and Sprint. Susan holds a B.A. in mathematics and psychology, an MBA in B2B marketing, a professional diploma in customer experience, and is a certified digital marketing professional (AMA+DMI).

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