WISPA Statement on Secretary Raimondo Budget HearingThe following statement may be attributed to Eric Slee, Director of Government Affairs, WISPA:
Washington, DC, April 27, 2022 – In 2023, the Department of Commerce and its NTIA will play a significant role in shaping American internet access. $65 billion dollars through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will start going out the door to bring broadband to those who do not have it. Many encouraging remarks have been said by Secretary Raimondo and Assistant Secretary Davidson about ensuring the efficacy of the IIJA and its BEAD program. WISPA and its members look forward to actively partnering with the NTIA and states on this important work.
As the Secretary works out the details of her 2023 budget, we believe she can deliver on the years-long promise of BEAD by:
- Relying on the IIJA’s technology neutral framework, which allows state grantees to maximize IIJA funds, and quickly deploy broadband where it is not;
- Using the FCC’s new broadband maps to guide funds to areas that are not served by broadband;
- Avoiding the use of funds to overbuild areas that already have broadband;
- And, committing to a transparent process which invites all players, especially small community-based solution providers, to the table to compete for available BEAD funds and partnership opportunities.
2023 will be an exciting and transformative year for the ISP industry. We pledge our efforts to ensure that the Department of Commerce makes BEAD a success and bridge the lingering digital divides that keep far too many Americans out of the U.S. economy and fully participating in our society.
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.