Rural Connectivity Advancement Program Act Will Go a Long Way toward Expanding Rural Internet AccessThe following statement may be attributed to Christina Mason, VP of Government Affairs, WISPA:
Washington, DC, June 18, 2020 – Millions of rural Americans live in the digital divide, denied, because of economics and geography, fast and ubiquitous broadband service enjoyed by the rest of the country. If the COVID-19 crisis has showed us anything it’s just how important connectivity is – a literal lifeline to keep all connected, prospering and safe in good and bad times. Further, that connectivity should not depend on where you live. As the Communications Act implies, good Internet access should be made available to “all the people of the United States,” not just those fortunate enough to be close to a good Internet provider.
Today’s introduction by Senator John Thune (R-SD) of the “Rural Connectivity Advancement Program Act” is a promising addition to solutions seeking to bridge the rural divide. In pertinent part, it works to take proceeds from the pending spectrum auctions and apply a portion of them to the FCC’s efforts to goose the deployment of broadband in rural areas. Though the details still need to be worked out, we believe this new funding stream will go a long way toward expanding Internet access.
We would like to thank Senator Thune for his steadfast focus and work to getting more rural Americans online. And we look forward to working with him and others on this important piece of legislation to make it even better for rural Americans and the small innovators who serve them.
WISPA’s approximately 900 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.