WISPA Urges Treasury's ARPA Interim Final Rule Be More Inclusive, Tech Neutral

The following statement may be attributed to Louis Peraertz, VP of Policy for WISPA:
Washington, DC, July 16, 2021 – WISPA appreciates the focus the IFR places on bringing broadband to areas that lack FCC-defined broadband.  Getting all Americans online with reliable broadband represents one of the most important policy objectives our government must pursue – it makes sure all Americans can stay connected, safe and prosperous in good and tough times. 
The IFR, however, would find greater success if it tightened its “guidance.”  As written, the interim rule could allow states, localities and Tribes to widely frustrate the American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) well intentioned objectives, and undercut the efforts and investments already made by WISPs and other small business innovators who are needed to get and keep Americans on the internet.  To ensure this cannot occur, the IFR should: advise that an unserved area should be any area that lacks a wireline or terrestrial wireless connection reliably delivering minimum speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload; eliminate the policy preference for symmetrical speeds; eliminate the possibility that recipients of ARPA funds will overbuild recipients of RDOF funds; eliminate the policy preference against supporting private investment in broadband; and clarify that the IFR’s suggestions are just recommendations, not requirements for states and local governments before they can disburse ARPA funds. 
This inclusive approach, which encourages the widest array of solutions, will not only help limited funds go further, but also laser-focus the task at hand – that is, getting Americans who do not have broadband access online. 
A copy of the filing can be found 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.
Mike Wendy