WISPA Statement on Biden Administration Competition EO

Washington, DC, July 9, 2021 – WISPA is generally encouraged by today’s Executive Order which seeks to promote competition across all sectors of our economy. Transparency, competition, and consumer-centric practices are hallmarks of community-based ISPs across the nation.

However, a call for the FCC to impose utility-style regulation on ISPs, if adopted, will limit consumer choice and competition in the hardest-to-reach areas of our country.

Local innovator ISPs have no reason to violate net neutrality principles, nor do they. But heavy-handed utility regulation would undermine the ability of these small innovators to compete in the marketplace, encouraging consolidation to more easily meet compliance obligations.

These ISPs kept consumers connected, safe and prosperous through the pandemic.  Community-based ISPs did this not because they were ordered to, but because they were laser-focused on serving the communities in which they themselves live and work.  America survived this health emergency due in no small part to these ISPs.

Our members serve 7 million consumers in areas neglected by traditional players.  WISPs offer competitive hybrid fiber and fixed wireless connectivity so that those who have been left behind by legacy incumbents live better lives.  WISPs are there precisely due to the absence of utility regulation, not because of it. 

Decades ago, fixed wireless pioneers led the charge to liberalize monopolized markets which did not serve consumers.  That risk revolutionized the market, spawning the commercial internet.  Consequently, broad economic innovation and growth abound.  Today’s WISPs continue on that pro-consumer journey, offering competition, better services, and lower prices where the largest providers and other incumbents have not. That innovation should be encouraged, not regulated into oblivion.

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