Bi-partisan “Accelerating Rural Broadband Deployment Act” Would Improve Access to Federal Infrastructure and Rights-of-way

The following statement may be attributed to Christina Mason, VP of Government Affairs for WISPA:
Washington, DC, April 16, 2021 – Broadband deployment is fraught with technical challenges that can be complex, intricate and bound by the unforgiving laws of physics.  Getting a signal from one point to another, however, can also be hobbled by more mundane factors – such as lack of access to physical infrastructure and rights-of-way, which allow for clear and cost-effective signal paths that enable the delivery of broadband connectivity in a given region, locale or community. 
The bi-partisan “Accelerating Rural Broadband Deployment Act” (ARBDA), introduced by Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Steve Daines (R-MT), seeks to alleviate some of these headaches when it comes to Federal infrastructure and rights-of-way.  It makes it easier for broadband providers to obtain federal rights-of-way licenses; ensures those licenses are at fair market rates; facilitates quicker resolution of rights-of-way requests; and makes the process more transparent, among other aspects.
WISPs have long-advocated for fair access to infrastructure and rights-of-way enjoyed by telecom providers.  Should ARBDA become law, WISPs would be one step closer to this for Federal land and property.  And this would be one more tool in their quiver to rapidly and cost-effectively get Americans online in areas left behind in the digital divide.
WISPA supports this legislation and looks forward to working with Congress and others to see it into law.
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.

Mike Wendy