The economic downturn; the end of ISPCON and other related tradeshows; the death of the "traditional" ISP; the failure of "fixed" WiMAX;
Of the 10,000+ independent ISPs that were thriving in the late 90s, less than 2,000 remain. Where in 1999, independents had in excess of 60% of the market, market share for independents has dropped to less than 25% in the midst of intense competition and market consolidation. This is the world where the fixed 802.16d WiMAX standard has been swept aside by a market chasing the holy grail of mobility. If the spotlight has passed by, is it time to move on?
I signed my first paying customer for my business on September 11, 2001; in a world full of pessimism, I saw opportunity. 8 years later, we're a $15 million business facing the largest economic downturn in recent history, and I can't help but be excited to encounter what I view as the market opportunity of a lifetime.
To quote Mark Twain, "the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated"
Entrepreneurism and innovation has evolved today's independent service provider beyond the "cookie cutter" dial-up ISP of the late 90s. In a world of micro-customization and "me marketing" pioneered by Starbucks and social networking, independents innovate and create value by filling a variety of market niches underserved by the "one-size-fits-all" big guys.
Here's the gap that WiNOG fills:
· ISPCON is gone...
· Broadband Wireless World has been merged into InterOp and now focuses on Enterprise Wireless
· WiMAX World and the WCAI is chasing the holy grail of 4G Wireless Mobility
There are 20 million fixed-line subscribers in the United States being serviced by these independents representing a $10+ billion access market. WiNOG, the Network Operators Group Event collocated at ITEXPO September 1-3, 2009 provides a venue for these service providers to exchange technical, business and operational information and discuss specific implementation issues involved in the design, deployment and operation of wide-area networks.