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Rural Broadband

Three Ways American Tower Supports WISPs in Their Quest to Bridge the Digital Divide

Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) serve a critical role in bringing broadband connectivity to rural communities. They need the flexibility to build out broadband networks in a way that makes the most sense for their business objectives, budgets, and timelines. Every WISP has a unique situation that requires a personalized approach, which is why American Tower offers the 4WISP program, a solution that accommodates individual business needs and helps customers get on our sites easier and faster.

This blog provides information about our solution, which focuses on three key areas of value: ease, personalization, and speed. Over the past 10 years, through the 4WISP program, we have developed a simplified approach to network expansion, allowing WISPs and rural operators to focus on what matters most—providing reliable service that bridges the digital divide.

Rural communities can’t wait any longer for adequate connectivity. It’s crucial to deploy broadband network plans as soon as possible, especially with opportunities like the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) auction, and other grants. When considering options, fiber is integral to all wireless networks, but it can only take you so far in rural areas with low population density, and large distances between homes, where fiber is no longer economically feasible. In addition, some areas are prone to challenging terrain, such as lakes, rivers, mountains, and railroad tracks.

“A hybrid network solution, including fiber and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), gives WISPs the ability to serve high-need areas. Deploying fiber in densely populated areas and FWA in fiber-prohibitive areas can reduce installation times and costs.”

— Aaron Feduk
    Senior Director, Vertical Markets

Consider this:

  • Typical per-household fiber deployment costs can average up to $6,000 or more in rural areas. In extremely remote areas, per-household fiber costs can be between $50,000 and $100,000.1
  • FWA is estimated to reduce initial costs of establishing last-mile connectivity by up to 40% versus Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP).2
  • FWA technology has achieved gigabit speeds in testing, delivering fiber quality services via wireless in rural areas.3

Our towers provide a shared infrastructure, which reduces the need to build new telecommunications sites or reach outskirt communities with fiber. Multiple customers can collocate on a single existing tower, helping to satisfy budget and timeline constraints, while maximizing subscriber reach.

At American Tower, our mission is to support WISPs in reaching their goal of bridging the digital divide. To do that, we make it simpler to engage with us and fully utilize our assets in your communities. Here are three ways our 4WISP program can help you:



Our 4WISP program is a tailored solution, which has been supporting customers for over 10 years. Today, we work with more than 500 WISPs around the country. Our consultative team is committed to providing customers an efficient and consistent collocation experience. With an American Tower account, you can find and apply for sites and track your projects, from anywhere at any time, making it easy to connect your network with us.



Due to our size and scale, we can offer incentives specifically for WISPs. By providing business terms tailored for your unique challenges and objectives, our 4WISP program is a cost-effective, flexible solution that supports your broadband network buildout—whether for the development of a new network or the enhancement of an existing one. Tell us about your network expansion specifications and goals, and we’ll develop a personalized plan to meet your requirements.



We are committed to helping you bring broadband connectivity to your communities. We offer a dedicated WISP team, who provides support throughout the collocation process, every step of the way. Our sales and leasing operations teams are specialized in handling the specific business requirements of WISP businesses. With comprehensive project management resources, we maximize process efficiencies and shorten cycle times, allowing you to focus on core business priorities. Our Site Development Services can help you further simplify deployment and speed your time to market.

To get started, request a free Marketplace Analysis. We’ll provide more insight into the market potential and available sites, including:

  • Our optimal towers in the coverage area
  • Number of households that can be reached from each tower
  • Average incomes and number of businesses in the target area
  • Estimated signal propagation from each tower
  • Fiber availability at our towers
  • How different combinations of towers can be used to cover a census block, county, or state

Together, we can meet the shared goal of bringing connectivity to unserved areas, so Americans can work and attend school remotely, receive telemedicine services, connect with family and friends, and so much more—no matter where they live.

Aaron Feduk

Aaron, an industry leader at American Tower for over two decades, has held roles in operations, carrier sales, and real estate management and acquisition. Currently, he leads business development and strategy for the WISP market.

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1iGR Report Commissioned by WIA, “The Fixed Wireless Network Opportunity: A Market Report,” Published Q4, 2022.
2NS Telecom & IT, “5G for FWA (Fixed Wireless Access): 2017-2030 Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts,” August 2017.
3Inside Towers, “Gigabit Speeds Achieved in FWA Test,” June 2022.

WISPAMERICA® is a registered trademark of Wireless Internet Service Providers Association.

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