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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.


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