WISPA Supports the Eliminate the Digital Divide Act

Washington, DC, October 6, 2020 – Late last week, Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) introduced the “Eliminate the Digital Divide Act” (EDDA), a bill that would help governors reach out and serve unserved Americans who lack broadband.  It does this by creating a $10 billion State Broadband Program where governors get support pegged to the number of unserved individuals in their state, and then partner with providers to build those networks.  Funds will be distributed in a technologically neutral manner, with streamlined requirements for small providers, among others, to help them apply.  The goal is to get networks built in unserved areas within three years, with this furthered by accelerating access to poles and rights of way in a timely and cost-efficient manner.  EDDA also addresses urban/low-income adoption by requiring the FCC to provide a public platform for data collected from broadband service providers on any low-income service options.

WISPA supports EDDA.

“Our members work every day, all day to serve the hardest to reach Americans with reliable broadband,” said Christina Mason, VP of Government Affairs for WISPA.  “Where government support is offered, it should be fair, technologically neutral, accessible to small innovators, and enable access to necessary infrastructure.  This bill does that, making it an attractive candidate to WISPs who, though usually privately-financed, might choose to augment that with EDDA, helping them and their states better reach unserved communities.”

WISPA’s 1000 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.
Mike Wendy