Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi

Start your own business plan »

Wireless DataComm Business Plan

Services

It has now become standard procedure to include wired connections for all new construction projects, both residential and business-related. The costs associated with wiring an entire building are extremely high when compared to adding a wireless network that will allow for greater speed and flexibility. As more developers focus on this as a utility which must be included, the demand for greater amounts of wireless technology grows. We are also a great solution for those developers looking to provide services for older buildings that do not already have wired connections in place, or where each tenant has individually set up his own wired network. A private Wi-Fi network would be the most cost-effective and quickest way to offer this service across all tenants. As connectivity to the Internet has become a necessary utility, just like water, phone and electrical hookups, so has the trend of providing a central Internet connection.

Pie in the Sky Enterprise - The Pie in the Sky Enterprise solution is a full-service plan for owners and landlords of large commercial and industrial properties. With industrial vacancy rates close to 10% and commercial office space reaching 16%, property owners are looking for ways to stand out in the market and increase revenue. Quickly becoming the "fourth" utility, wireless Internet access gives property owners the ability to provide this service at a fraction of the cost of a traditional high-speed wired network. Pie in the Sky Enterprise is a completely managed service that includes complete installation, 24/7 management and maintenance.

Pie in the Sky Residential - The Pie in the Sky Residential solution is a full-service plan for owners and landlords of multi-family housing units and communities who are looking for ways to add value and improve their occupancy rates. With new housing being built daily, interest rates falling and climbing rental vacancy rates, multi-family property owners are looking for ways to add valued amenities. Over 66 million Americans use the Internet from home and pay individual access fees for their primary Internet connections. By offering a built-in alternative, landlords now have an easy way to decrease their vacancy rates and increase monthly income. The Pie in the Sky Residential solution gives owners the ability to aggregate and redistribute a high-speed Internet connection throughout their property. With cable or DSL, tenants pay anywhere from $10 to $50 a month for an individual Internet connection, either through dial up or broadband. With the Pie in the Sky Residential Enterprise, multi-family property owners can become the preferred Internet provider for their tenants, saving tenants money and increasing landlords' income and competitive advantage.

Pie in the Sky Travel Hub - Truck Stops: Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi is in the unique position of being able to offer Wi-Fi services to truck stops throughout the U.S. quickly and efficiently. Because of the management team’s prior experience in the trucking industry, our ability to educate and sell to individual truck stops is easily handled using current contacts within the marketplace.

Pie in the Sky ISP Enterprise - Internet Service Providers (ISPs): ISPs play an important role within the company. Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi will partner with key ISPs in order to resell the Pie in the Sky Enterprise solution. The benefit to partnering with the ISPs is focus. The core focus for an ISP is to provide raw connectivity to their clients, whether wired or wireless. In either case, these ISPs need service providers to handle the installation of these networks. ISPs usually either outsource these services, or refer them to a reputable provider, if the company does not do the installation themselves. By partnering with Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi as a hardware solutions provider, the ISPs can remain focused on their core competencies and Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi will tap into an established customer base. Since Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi will need a primary connection to the location where the wireless network is requested, the partnership further solidifies the ISP's role in providing connectivity to the location. In all circumstances, Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi depends on local ISPs to provide the raw feed to any wireless installation, whether it be a T1 direct to the property or a DS3 powering a larger wireless base station, where Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi can distribute its own T1s wirelessly.

The Pie in the Sky Enterprise Wi-Fi solution can provide network connectivity at speeds starting from 54mbs scalable up to 1Gbps. This connectivity can be distributed throughout an entire area without the need to re-wire any current wired connections. Not only is this faster than older wired networks, but it’s also easier to scale up and upgrade the technology as it improves.

3.1 What is Wi-Fi?

"Wi-Fi" is short for wireless fidelity, technology for broadcasting a high-speed Internet connection to a given area. The Internet connection is plugged into a transmitter, called an access point, and is broadcast to an area about 300 feet in diameter, called a "hotspot." Properly equipped laptop computers or other portable devices can then pick up the signal and log onto the Internet without the need to be plugged into a hard line connection.

Wi-Fi not only allows users to connect anywhere without the cost and delay of installing wired connections, but it is also faster than traditional DSL or Cable connections. Just like traditional wired connections, Wi-Fi can be securely set up with an existing wired network or set up as a stand-alone wireless network. Wi-Fi prevents the need to install a custom wired network, allowing for greater flexibility, particularly for growing businesses that may need to remain flexible in both location and office layout.

Wi-Fi uses radio technology called 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g in order to provide secure, reliable, fast wireless connectivity. All Wi-Fi networks operate in the unlicensed 2.4 and 5 GHz radio bands, with an 11 Mbps (802.11b), or 54 Mbps (802.11a) data rate, or with products that contain both bands (dual band). 802.11g is equally as fast as 802.11a and 802.11b, but boasts the backward compatibility to 802.11b required in order to make inexpensive upgrades.

Enterprise level Wi-Fi is just beginning to gain ground with Internet Service Providers worldwide. The ability to distribute large amounts of bandwidth up to 30 miles between Wi-Fi base stations solves the "last mile" problem in many communities, as well as providing a substantial savings when compared to digging trenches and laying fiber in the ground.

3.2 Detailed Service Descriptions

Although each Wi-Fi installation is unique to the specific needs of each client and building, the options available are simple. The more coverage area needed, the greater economies of scale Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi will enjoy due to the cost structure described below. All products are based on a fixed 40% gross margin on the equipment needed for each installation, plus appropriate installation charges. In addition to the initial installation, a fixed monthly maintenance charge to manage and monitor the network will also be added as part of the standard service offering. These monthly prices are based on the variable raw connection cost (i.e. T1 approximately $800 per month) plus an applicable service fee based on the number of users utilizing the network and the preferred bandwidth for each. For a detailed breakdown of the financial assumptions and pro-forma income statement please refer to the financials section in this document and Appendix I.

Each location receives its primary Internet connection from a wired T1 line or greater. This provides the base station with the ability to transmit connectivity to access points throughout the coverage area so users can access the network. Note: in some cases a high-speed DSL line may be substituted in order to lower the overall installation cost for the client. Although the primary target market for these services consists mostly of larger installations, this may be considered if a T1 is not needed on the property or nearby properties.

Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi provides the installation and maintenance of high-speed wireless networks for specific market segments. All of the installation services are packaged as the "Pie in the Sky Enterprise Solution" with the specific industry applications added. As of the creation of this document the company is actively marketing the Pie in the Sky Enterprise solution to three specific industry segments: commercial property owners, multi-tenant residential property owners, and travel hub operators; we will follow up with marketing to ISPs in the next two to three months. These industry segments will each have a custom package, called Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi Enterprise, Pie in the Sky Residential Wi-Fi & Pie in the Sky Travel Hub Wi Fi, respectively. These three primary service categories will be divided up from a marketing and sales approach, but will all follow the same install and maintenance process.

The Pie in the Sky Commercial Enterprise and Pie in the Sky Residential Enterprise services are both packaged in such a way to allow property owners or individual business owners to increase the value of their property or business by providing tenants or customers with access to high-speed wireless Internet access. These packages are specifically designed to add value to the owner's enterprise. It is not the goal of Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi to install networks on speculation and market its services directly to the end user. Instead these services are offered to the commercial or residential owner as a way to increase revenue for themselves through greater demand for their services as a result of installing a wireless network, or by actually charging a fee themselves for user access. This can be done in a number of different ways, from increasing base rent or lease rates and including it as an amenity of the property, to adding it as an additional access fee. The Pie in the Sky Enterprise service allows all working areas of the building, property or business to have wireless Internet access.

In addition to the initial installation, the service also includes secure 24/7 remote management and maintenance for a monthly fee. This service provides full service maintenance, user management and monitoring of the entire wireless network. This allows the owner the freedom to offer these services without fear of trying to manage a complex wireless network or troubleshooting problems should they arise. It is completely hands-off for the owner and no technical knowledge is needed in order to offer this at their properties.

The Pie in the Sky ISP Enterprise solution utilizes the same Enterprise installation and monthly management as described above, but it is positioned differently for the ISPs. Since Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi is a wholesale provider of wireless Internet access and does not directly market its services to the end users of any network, an ISP partnership is a great fit. ISPs have similar relationships already created with commercial and residential owners and this is an easy add-on sale when discussing options with these clients. The Pie in the Sky ISP Enterprise service simply allows the ISP to offer the Pie in the Sky Enterprise package through their ISP account, already in place. The installation and management is the same, except the primary connection is still provided through the ISP. The ISP can receive additional revenue as a Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi reseller (at 10%), while adding new customers and maintaining focus on their strengths - raw connectivity.

Pie in the Sky Enterprise – Monthly services included in all plans

  • 24/7 remote management
  • Network reporting
  • Bandwidth management
  • Security maintenance
  • User management
  • User support
  • Upgraded equipment as needed
  • Hands off management for property owner
  • Private customized connection
  • No cost truck rolls

Additional services may be added at a later date once the networks are in place at each site. Some of these additional services might include voice over IP (VOIP) and security services. For additional details regarding how these three industry segments will be targeted from a sales and marketing standpoint, please refer to the Marketing Plan section of this document.

3.3 Competitive Comparison

The opportunity for wireless (Wi-Fi) installations and ongoing management of these networks has increased greatly in the past year and is projected by industry experts to grow at an annual rate of no less than 50% a year. The total industry is expected to grow to $2 billion annually by the year 2008. Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi has an opportunity to be one of the first movers in this rapidly growing market. Because of the fragmented nature of the market in its current state, the threat from potential competitors is not necessarily a bad thing. Additional competitors in the market will help grow industry awareness and help drive overall sales within the industry. The overall opportunity in this industry is great and there is unlimited opportunity for wireless installations throughout the next few years. Due to the short-term opportunity to grab a foothold in this emerging market, Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi is aggressively rolling out the services anywhere demand is generated. As demand increases, the scalable sales and installer management strategy will allow the company to take advantage of all opportunities, regardless of location. By 2008 the opportunity, or "gold-rush," is estimated to be over and market consolidation will begin.

By 2008, Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi will be in a good position to sell the company to a market aggregator looking to increase market share and build a national integrated network of private wireless networks. The most likely aggregators will be the larger telecom, cable or electrical companies currently looking at providing these services via public "Hot Spots" or through cellular networks.

Wi-Fi Advantages

The primary advantage lies in the technology of Wi-Fi itself. Using unlicensed radio frequencies (802.11b, 802.11g & 802.16), each new location can be installed quickly without requiring FCC approval. This not only decreases the total cost of a new installation, but also increases the ability to roll out new networks quickly and efficiently. Cellular technology (including the new 3G band) has significantly higher costs and FCC approval is required. Wi-Fi has absolutely no barriers to entry and can be installed with no restrictions or government regulations. Coupled with the faster connection rate of wireless, the value proposition becomes obvious.

The industry itself has many key advantages over traditional wired networks, from cost to ease, to time for implementation. In many cases, the newer wireless technology will also improve the connection speed at a fraction of the cost. The industry advantage combined with the Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi management team, Board of Advisors and current marketplace demand for such services gives the company a strong starting position and ability to execute on the plan described herein.

3.4 Technology Plan

The Wi-Fi industry is experiencing substantial growth in both technology and user demand. As a result of this fast growth curve it is critical that the Technology department stay up-to-date with the newest technology and ensure that the company dedicate appropriate resources towards the adoption and understanding of any new technology related to the installation, implementation and management of wireless networks. As stated in the marketing section in this document, Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi is a full-service, nimble, professional provider of wireless technology. This requires that our technology department and staff be the leading experts in the field to ensure credibility and success in the marketplace. The technology objective for Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi is to always stay educated on emerging wireless technologies so that it can provide these advanced services to the client in the easiest possible format without the need for the client to understand the complexities involved. The goal is to package the technology provided by Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi in an easy-to-understand service that the client can easily grasp.

3.4.1 Installer Database

In order to expand to the national market quickly and effectively using the suite of products described in this plan, Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi has created a proprietary database of certified installers throughout the US. After the sale has been made, a certified Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi installer will visit the location in order to install the necessary equipment. All other activities, including an initial site assessment and ongoing management of the network, will be operated out of the primary office.

Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi is maintaining an online database for company target, evaluation, and tracking of wireless equipment and service providers that we will use to roll out our Wide Area Network and Local Area Networks. In addition to providing network building and support, we will partner with other service providers to offer value-added services once networks are operational.

The service provider database allows us to track key contact information, service skill sets, pre-contract historical information and Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi contract history. We will track every aspect of contractor relationships.

All service providers will be evaluated on their value and contribution to the Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi Company, utilizing the data stored in the service provider database. The Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi Service Provider database will be key to the success and efficiency of Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi, and will be a cornerstone of all network operations.

3.4.2 New Site Install

Each service location will be completely managed and operated via the Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi remote management system.  With an Enterprise Plan, Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi will be that location's primary ISP for wireless Internet access. For all other plans, the partner ISP will maintain the primary connection, while Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi manages the wireless network via the remote management system. Connectivity will be provided by a wholesale backbone provider or by another Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi access point, depending on location.

3.4.3 Site Assessment

Part of the Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi marketing and technology plan is to include a site assessment in order to determine the costs and return on investment at that particular location. The rep for that particular client will perform the site assessment using a worksheet provided by the company. This site assessment will include mapping out all the necessary data points and equipment needed.

In addition to this initial equipment site assessment, the rep will also provide surveys for owners to distribute to their current tenants in order to determine the demand for the secure Wi-Fi network. In many cases, the survey will help to determine the ROI and potential use of the new wireless network. If the primary connection costs, plus the variable costs to install the necessary access points, is less than the potential revenue that can be derived from the tenants, then the install will not be done unless the client opts for the purchase plan for that location.

Each potential site for a wireless network will be evaluated heavily in two areas before implementation is considered:

  1. Local needs, goals, and constraints of the company or group of users where the network is being installed.
  2. Evaluation of role and needs of the site installation in the overall Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi network backbone.

Other local site assessment processes include:

Planning

  • Gather and define the business and community requirements of the installation.
  • Interview property managers/owners and identify the needs of the users of the network.
  • Define security requirements of the installation.

Radio Frequency Survey

  • Obtain all site and building plans and documents that are available.
  • Document any existing network infrastructure.
  • Conduct an on-site Radio Frequency (RF) survey.
  • Perform initial RF cell planning.
  • Document any existing RF in detail.
  • Present findings of survey to network management and design team.

Design

  • Determine the placement and characteristics of appropriate access points, power sources, network cabling, wireless gateways, and network monitoring devices.
  • Design the RF solution based upon optimum access point, bridge, and repeater placement.
  • Determine appropriate security solution for the organization and the environment.
  • Determine appropriate billing solution for the installation.
  • Shortlist all manufacturers and their equipment and software that will be needed for the installation.
  • Design the wireless network producing detailed diagrams and drawings for the installation.
  • Determine network support requirements
  • Build preliminary costing for the design and implementation.

Backbone Role and Requirements

  • Bandwidth Requirements
  • Is Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi wireless backbone connectivity an option?
  • What other “wired” connectivity options are there?
  • What is the business and residential density surrounding and beyond localized network?

Careful planning of all types of wireless network installations prior to implementation will contribute to localized network stability and QOS, as well as contribute to the overall Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi backbone network in a positive way.

3.4.4 Service Provider Recruitment

Not all resources for Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi will come from internal sources; the company will depend on a wide variety of consultant resources for site assessment, installation, service, and support.

We have recruited initial service providers via a directory of potential contractors, compiled through online and offline lists of wireless and network installers nation-wide. We now have a service provider database where the information is refined and qualified to verify they meet the needs of Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi. For a snapshot of this database, please refer to Appendix VII.

We have contacted service providers and solicited their partnership with Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi in their respected geographical service areas. Before a partnership is established, we carefully review the service provider's business record and establish communication with a few of their businesses references. Only then do we begin contract negotiations.

Continued service provider recruitment will consist of continued online and offline list evaluation, as well as constant presence of partnership/recruitment materials on the Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi website.

3.4.5 Project Implementation

With good planning, Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi can move to implementation fairly rapidly.  A standardized approach to installations utilizing proven methods will be used, with a careful eye to the evolution of the process as the industry stabilizes and moves forward.

Here is an overview of Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi network implementation process:

Pre-Installation

  • Approve the wireless network design.
  • Procure hardware, software.
  • Put out Request for Proposal (RFP) to all available installers in Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi database.
  • Approve most qualified installer/contractor.
  • Schedule network install with approved design and most qualified installer.

Installation

  • Install network feed.
  • Install equipment.
  • Test wireless network.
  • Provide training and/or materials to users or support group.
  • Go live with the wireless network.

Once a network has gone live, it will be placed into management mode to ensure continued operation of services.  However, if warranted, a secondary network design regarding future growth and enhancements to the network will be conducted upon initial project rollout to ensure the network grows in a healthy, revenue generating manner.

3.4.6 Technology Utilized

To satisfy the growing demand for bandwidth, Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi will utilize existing fiber networks tapped with a network switch providing our initial Internet feed. We will always start with a T1 (1.5 Mbps) connection as a foundation. Connected to a network switch, we will use a Point to MultiPoint (PtoMP) wireless base station utilizing the Wireless Outdoor Router Protocol (WORP), 802.16 standard and radius antenna to deliver carrier class broadband Internet to multiple subscriber units at "node points" across an area from the size of facility to several miles. This Point to Multipoint (PtoMP) backbone will utilize the 5.4 GHz unlicensed frequency to deliver each "node point" subscriber unit the broadband connectivity it will need to deliver the last mile service.

Each subscriber unit will then redistribute the broadband Internet wirelessly utilizing the 802.11a, 802.11b, and 80211.g standards via an enterprise-level Access Point (AP) to clients/users with laptops or workstations that are Wi-Fi enabled. Because of the usage of 3 widely adopted wireless standards, authenticated users will be able to connect to the network with low-cost equipment that is obtainable at most computer and electronics stores.

Achieving a high level of Quality of Service (QOS) can prove to be a chore in a wireless network. To ensure success in this area, Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi will follow 802.11e Standards that offer a roadmap for providing a stable, high quality of service for customers connecting to the network.

In order to widen our network and offer inter-operability with outside networks, we will integrate aspects of the 802.11f Standards into our external vendor plans. By watching the 802.11f standards, we can offer roaming and extended off-network services to our customer base, and generate additional revenue.

Network security will be a high priority for the technology team at Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi. The 802.11i Standards will be used as a guideline for Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi security strategies; we will utilize many methods for evaluation and monitoring network usage to ensure security of the network. Though the standard is not 100% ratified it offers a clearer path to follow to take network security beyond current methods and offer security for the network in the future.

Utilizing carrier-class, proven equipment and following global standards for wireless broadband delivery, the Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi technology team will provide Internet services that are just as efficient and fast as traditional wired networks.

3.4.7 Vendor Relationships

Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi uses equipment primarily manufactured by Company A, a global leader in wireless networking technology. Company A provides the equipment needed for backbone distribution, access points, and client access equipment. In additional to Company A, other equipment manufacturer products include Company B, Company C, and D Corporation.

Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi has established an account relationship with E Industries, a value-added distributor which sells all the equipment currently used by Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi. Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi is actively seeking new vendor relationships as manufacturers evolve their product lines and new technologies emerge. Other potential vendors include Company F, a leading 802.16 (MAN) equipment manufacturer, and Company G, an IP voice and video equipment manufacturer.

Keeping an eye on emerging technologies in this fast-paced emerging industry will keep Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi on the cutting edge of the wireless wave. By carefully evaluating standards, equipment, and potential new relationships, we will be able to offer a high level Quality of Service over our networks.

3.4.8 Remote Management

Once a local network has been successfully launched and placed into management mode it will become part of a larger network that is being monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by system engineers utilizing standardized management software tailored to Pie in the Sky Wi-Fi’s unique network rollout.

Every access point with the network will be configured with management software that can be access remotely by a highly secure network administration interface. Each access point can be monitored separately from the network, or as a whole, by the centralized management system.

All network traffic will be monitored as a whole to evaluate:

  • Network bandwidth requirements/usage
  • External security threats
  • Internal security threats and network misuse
  • Service and content usage

Every piece of equipment on the network will be constantly monitored for:

  • Network integration and operability
  • Quality of Service
  • User congestion

All user connections will be monitored individually and as a whole to evaluate:

  • Billing requirements
  • Network usage statistics
  • User bandwidth usage

The entire network will be managed during regular business hours by network engineers, with most changes and updates occurring remotely. However, a team of field resources will be in place to respond to physical equipment failures throughout the network. When critical aspects of the network fail there will be a pager/cell phone communication network to ensure quick response times to any network situation.