WISPA Likes House Plan to Foster Infrastructure, Broadband DeploymentThe following statement may be attributed to Christina Mason, VP of Government Affairs for WISPA:
Washington, DC, January 29, 2020 – Today, House Democratic Leadership unveiled its plan to update this Nation’s aged infrastructure, proposing, among other things in the $760 Billion plan, $80 billion over five years to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved rural, suburban, and urban areas across the country. WISPA hails this level of commitment. If enacted into law, it will go far in bridging the debilitating digital divide.
The challenge of eradicating the digital divide is particularly acute in rural areas, where nearly 20 million Americans lack adequate access to essential broadband, hampering widespread prosperity in the heartland. WISPA’s members serve approximately 6 million subscribers with robust and evolving high-speed broadband there, but they need meaningful access to more unlicensed and lightly licensed spectrum to deliver their services and grow to meet burgeoning demand. Though the infrastructure plan does not lay out any specifics, we hope Leadership recognizes that spectrum is infrastructure – just like new roads, bridges and public utilities – and focuses on encouraging Federal officials to unleash more of it for consumers. Importantly, opening up new unlicensed or lightly licensed spectrum – such as in the C-band, 5.9 GHz and 6 GHz spectrum bands – will not cost the U.S. taxpayer a single penny, and could quickly grow, in a taxpayer-friendly way, new opportunities for unserved and underserved communities.
WISPA stands ready to work with all to help make this, or any similar plan, a reality, enabling more Americans to get online and more equitably participate in our digital economy.
WISPA’s approximately 850 members are composed of fixed Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) and the industry that supports fixed wireless broadband, including equipment suppliers, support services, and other components needed to run a successful business. Our members, and WISPs, in general, provide broadband access to over 6 million residential and business customers, often in exclusively rural areas.