Claude Blog: Let's avoid hand-wringing over RDOF results before the ink is dryA large majority of WISPA’s members have built robust broadband networks without a single government dollar, putting life savings on the line to start broadband businesses that serve the unserved. Historically shut out of subsidy programs, even those few that have government capital have faced significant headwinds.
We are pleased that a number of our members have been able to take advantage of the opportunities that the FCC offered in the latest RDOF auction, and WISPA would have liked to see many more of its members scale the barriers erected against their participation. We will continue to work to ensure that innovators and entrepreneurs have access to the same opportunities as entrenched incumbents.
Even now we see hand-wringing over the results before the ink on the results is dry. This is no surprise. Indeed, we saw the same thing years ago over the ability of certain CAF winners to perform and scale. But, wireless speeds that some said were impossible to deliver are now mass market offerings. Network builds that some said were improbable were finished years ahead of schedule.
The FCC’s long-form process asks hard questions of presumptive winners, thoroughly vetting program applicants' proposals to ensure they are capable of meeting the program requirements. Early prognostications about the ability of certain winners to perform are judging the book by the first word of its title, potentially harming the program by impacting their ability to obtain additional capital or other regulatory approvals. But perhaps that is the point.
WISPA will continue to study the results of the RDOF Auction for important lessons learned that might improve the next reverse auction. But hot takes that burn down opportunity for rural Americans who need high-speed broadband should be unwelcome in any case.