WISPA Opposes House-Senate Common Carrier Legislation

Washington, DC, July 29, 2022 – WISPA – Broadband Without Boundaries believes Senator Markey’s and Congressperson Matsui’s “Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act” – which would create a marriage of convenience between Net Neutrality objectives and Title II common carrier regulation – is highly problematic.  We believe common carrier regulation is unwarranted for small players serving markets forgotten and ignored by legacy incumbents.  Many WISPs operate in areas left behind by Title II common carriers, serving off-the-beaten-track as well as disadvantaged rural and urban communities, and Tribal areas of America.  These WISPs play a vital community role, reliably delivering broadband to schools, hospitals, public safety institutions, local governments, small businesses, and local residents.  They can do so because of the absence of costly, common carrier regulation.  On top of the other significant policy headwinds facing small, innovative WISPs, the bill’s Title II requirements would create real threats to their ongoing viability.  Consequently, the specter of open access, service and rate regulation, among other Title II mandates, would result in fewer solutions and deployment growth in the very areas most in need of it.
That noted, we pledge our steadfast efforts to work with all stakeholders to find a more inclusive answer – one which protects consumers, promotes competition, invites investment and truly grows solutions to bridge the digital divide.  Even though our members do not unreasonably block, throttle or prioritize traffic, we are amenable to a congressional approach to Net Neutrality to resolve the continuing uncertainties of the FCC’s position on the matter and provide policy stability for service providers and consumers.  Net Neutrality may be a mixed bag, but common carrier regulation would inhibit competition, private investment and innovation, and further confound the complex task of eradicating of the digital divide.
About WISPA – Broadband Without Boundaries
WISPA’s approximately 1000 members provide fixed broadband connectivity, and include equipment suppliers, support services, and other industry partners and stakeholders. Our members provide broadband access to millions of residential and business customers in rural, urban and Tribal areas across America.
Mike Wendy