WISPA Unveils 2021 Policy PrioritiesWashington, DC, February 18, 2021 – Eradicating the digital divide so all Americans can access and use the Internet represents perhaps one of the greatest goals for U.S. policymakers to achieve. The Internet keeps us connected, safe and prosperous, in good and in tough times. It is central to our lives and wellbeing, and like any vital resource, necessary to meaningfully participate in today’s world.
WISPs are delivering on that goal, 24/7/365. They bring broadband to approximately 7 million Americans in the hardest to reach and serve areas of the country. Individual entrepreneurship and investment have no doubt been a driving force there. But good policy has helped immensely, too.
WISPA members have successfully competed for Rural Broadband Experiment, Connect America Fund, and Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support, and are deploying service today using cost-effective fixed wireless equipment that continues to evolve. In the past few years, our industry has seen a dramatic increase in the infusion of strategic and investment capital. Those industry developments, together with the FCC’s allocation of unlicensed and licensed mid- and high-band spectrum, are enabling fixed wireless providers to deploy faster broadband services to previously unserved and underserved areas.
To continue on this immense progress, tackling the digital divide challenge calls for a multi-faceted approach. WISPA’s newly unveiled 2021 Policy Priorities reveals such a path – one which leverages the innovative, flexible and evolutionary skillsets of our members, boosted in no small measure by balanced spectrum policy, data-driven broadband subsidy programs, fast and fair access to infrastructure, and regulations that do not impose disproportionate burdens on small providers of broadband and telecommunications services.
“The FCC stands at an exciting juncture in the history of U.S. communications policy,” said Claude Aiken, President and CEO of WISPA. “With the advance of technology, the proliferation of competitive markets, and the help of smart government policies and programs it could be that very soon all Americans, no matter where they live or their means of support, will have access to the Internet – a dream first given voice in the Communications Act of 1934.”
Added Aiken, “The policy priorities we present today comport with that lofty vision – of bridging the communications divide – and we look forward to working with Acting Chair Rosenworcel and the other FCC Commissioners as they guide the U.S. communications industry toward this amazing, equitable goal.”
A copy of WISPA’s 2021 Policy Priorities can be obtained here.
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 millions of residential and business customers, often in exclusively rural areas.