WISPA Sends Letter to House Democrats on IIJA Funding

Washington, DC, April 13, 2022 - WISPA's Chairman of the Board, Todd Harpest, sent a letter to 17 Members of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology today, reiterating support for a technologically neutral approach to the Infrastructure Investment and Job Act's (IIJA) broadband deployment, affordability and digital equity support programs.  The communication to the legislators was in response to a March 21, 2022, letter they sent to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, Alan Davidson, which outlined their priorities for the implementation and outlay of IIJA's $65 billion in funding.

In pertinent part, Harpest states:

“A core aspect of the IIJA is its tech-neutral framework for broadband deployment. Congress wisely rejected prioritizing any given technology over others, realizing that such a choice would undermine the broad goals to connect all Americans to reliable internet access. This all-of-the-above approach invites a diversity of broadband solutions to the table because it recognizes America is not a one-size-fits-all nation.

“Although the IIJA support is generous, prioritizing fiber transmission would mean that large swaths of America would remain unserved. Such an outcome would be inequitable and run counter to the intent of the IIJA.                  

“Presently, NTIA is working on the rules which will guide allocation of those funds. The ultimate details will be multifaceted, and will need to balance many competing interests, but we believe the NTIA will best serve Congress’ intent by focusing on areas truly unserved by 25/3 Mbps broadband services, promoting a diverse palette of tech-neutral solutions, employing accurate mapping, and ensuring robust program transparency. Further, we believe states and local communities should be in the driver’s seat when determining what type of technology will serve the unique needs of their communities. Preferring one technology over another would essentially tie the hands of state and local leaders who know their communities best.”

WISPA’s community-based members deliver fixed wireless access and fiber broadband solutions to millions of Americans in the toughest to reach and serve areas of the country. They are on the ground now, closing the digital divide with affordable, reliable future-proof connectivity via a range of solutions that best fit each community’s unique needs and situation.

The IIJA’s technologically diverse framework provides the best path to realizing the Act’s goals because, according to Harpest, “Where more solutions can be brought to the table, better results always prevail.”

A copy of the letter can be seen here.

WISPA’s approximately 1000 members are composed of fixed Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) and the evolving industry that supports fixed broadband connectivity, including equipment suppliers, support services, and other components needed to run a successful business. Our members provide evolutionary broadband access to millions of residential and business customers in rural, urban and Tribal areas across America.

Mike Wendy