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build your own broadband (BYOB)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Build your own broadband (BYOB) is a community- or individual-driven initiative to lay foundations for high-speed internet, instead of the work being performed by a traditional internet service provider (ISP) or government.

BYOB allows individuals and communities to fill in service areas that ISPs deem too low-profit to service, or into where they just have not expanded their coverage. BYOB is a potential area where new competition can emerge, as opposed to areas where ISPs already provide service. In those areas, it is more difficult for new competition because of existing regulations and the ability of a large ISP to offer lower prices for a time to quash competition.

BYOB is a growing trend in unserved and underserviced areas in the United States and the United Kingdom.  It’s common for substandard internet to be the only existing option in rural areas. Often ISPs in such areas have the ability to provide broadband internet but find the financial incentive to be too small as ROI is liable to take a couple of years. Initial investments for fiber digging equipment are seen to be too high despite willing customers. This situation provides a void where citizens can fill their own needs with BYOB, either wirelessly or through fiber optics.

Because BYOB starts out with many costs, it can take a while for an individual deployment to recoup losses. After losses are recouped, BYOB faces the possibilities of profitability or expansion.

This was last updated in November 2017

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