May Newsletter

 

WISPA Newsletter – May Activities
 
Announcements
 
WISPA Member Group Health Plans – Offering health insurance to your employees is not only a great thing to do, it also helps attract and keep the talent you have.  Of course, it’s expensive and complex to administer, especially if you operate a small shop and you’re the one who wears ten hats.  Did you know that WISPA can help?  We’ve recently partnered with AHPA to offer member health insurance plans for employers, as well as individuals and families.  Want to know more about this tremendous, cost-effective members-only benefit – go here for more information.
 
Industry Survey – WISPA is currently updating its popular Carmel Report, which was written in 2017.  It tells the story of the evolving WISP industry so that policymakers, analysts, media and other thought-leaders know what this industry is and where it’s going.  The Report is built in large part on a member survey, which will start showing up in your in boxes before the end of June.  We need your help to fill it out so that the update can be as comprehensive and informative as can be.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Mike Wendy at mwendy@wispa.org.

WISPA Advocacy
 
House Bi-partisan Bill to Close Digital Divide Would Actually Harm That Process
May 28 – House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), and Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) introduced the Rural Broadband Acceleration Act (RBAA), a bill which seeks to speed up the RDOF auction process in favor of symmetric gigabit bids, ostensibly to combat COVID-19 connectivity challenges.  By front loading the RDOF’s long form application, as well as eliminating the FCC challenge process, the RBAA will harm small innovators whether they want to bid or not.  It will cause broader problems, too. “A sudden shift in a well-deliberated FCC process to close the digital divide will prevent that process from closing it for years to come,” noted Christina Mason, WISPA’s VP of Government Affairs.  Not surprisingly, WISPA and other industry associations have voiced strong opposition to this legislation.  To this end, WISPA issued an Action Alert, which resulted in 230 letters from WISP ecosystem individuals and companies urging the Senate not to take up the bill.  This work and other of our efforts have borne fruit – The RBAA is not expected to progress any further in Congress.  For more info, please contact Christina Mason at cmason@wispa.org.
 
WISPs Must Be a Significant Part of Any Plan to Boost COVID-19 Connectivity, Bridge Digital Divide
May 13 – The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on the state of broadband amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Though WISPA did not testify, the hearing provided an opportunity for Christina Mason to remind policymakers that small local innovators, such as WISPs, are part of the solution to eradicate the lingering digital divide, and that “with a little help from Uncle Sam, WISPs could do more to get and keep Americans online.”  If you’d like to know more about how WISPA is educating policymakers on the ways WISPs are bridging the digital divide, please contact Mike Wendy at mwendy@wispa.org.           

Modest Changes Will Help TVWS Ecosystem Flourish
May 4 – In comments filed at the FCC, WISPA noted that with only modest changes made to the agency’s TVWS rules, the TVWS ecosystem would flourish. “If the FCC adopts the widely-accepted Longley-Rice Irregular Terrain Model (ITM) interference protection standard, increases maximum tower height to 500 meters, liberalizes its adjacent-channel emission standards, and acknowledges and enables the use of directional antennas in its TVWS database, the band would more fully realize the spectrum’s promise,” noted WISPA.  These changes would result in a more attractive service to providers, device makers and third-party services, bringing down costs, and making TVWS a more viable alternative to broaden deployment and connect unserved Americans to the Internet.  For more info, reach out to Louis Peraertz, WISPA’s VP of Policy, at lperaertz@wispa.org.

WISPA Members Figure Prominently in FCC Press Release on 5.9 GHz STAs for COVID-19
May 4 – The FCC heralded its decision to allow temporary access to the 5.9 GHz spectrum, helping Americans everywhere stay connected during COVID-19.  A number of WISPA members obtained an STA and were featured in the FCC’s STA press release.  According to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, “I’m grateful to these companies for making a positive difference in their communities, delivering Internet access that’s sorely needed in some of the hardest-to-connect places in our country.” WISPA is grateful, too, not only for the service of the companies, but also to WISPA counsel Steve Coran, who donated his services to get the initial grantees their STA’s.

Not a WISPA member? 

You should be.  This year alone, WISPA –

  • Thwarted big mobile from gobbling up the 6 GHz band
  • Got 850 MHz of unlicensed, standard power 6 GHz spectrum
  • Defeated CMA-level PAL CBRS auction bidding  
  • Obtained 3.65 GHz blanket waiver deferral
  • Got 5.9 GHz STAs for COVID-19 response
  • Provided extensive support and guidance for FCC’s RDOF, improving rules for smaller providers
  • Persuaded FCC to allow all fixed wireless providers to bid in RDOF’s gigabit performance tier
  • Passed broadband mapping bill signed by the President
  • Shepherded CBRS to full commercial deployment
  • Advanced concept of spectrum sharing at FCC, Congress
  • Held virtual WISPAMERICA with 19 informative webinars during COVID-19 shut-in
  • Published SmartBrief highlighting useful industry news and trends
  • Supplied members-only COVID-19 response resources
  • Offered members-only discounts on CPI CBRS training
  • Furnished exclusive members-only research, webinars and industry resources
  • Made available members-only employer and individual health insurance plans
  • Provided a members-only buying club perks program

Enjoy these and other benefits.  Join WISPA today.  Contact Gary Helmers at ghelmers@wispa.org, or go here to join!
 
WISPA in the News

Bipartisan Bill Would Goose Broadband Buildouts – Multichannel News
Forget the Auction? Rural Broadband Acceleration Act Calls for Early Release of RDOF Funds for Gigabit – Telecompetitor
Senior House Lawmakers Push to Speed Up Broadband Funding – Wall Street Journal
CBRS Will Bring Change to Energy and Utility Industries – FierceWireless
ISPs Seek Compensation to Keep Americans Connected – FierceWireless
A Variety of Operators Are Likely to Bid in the CBRS Auction: Special Report on CBRS – FierceWireless
FCC Says Temporary Spectrum Authorities Are Paying Off – Multichannel News 
BROADBAND ROUNDUP Coronavirus Roundup: Making the Most of TV White Space, 5.9 GHz Waivers, Avoiding Huawei Gear on 5G – Broadband Breakfast
Frontier, Amid Bankruptcy, Is Suspected of Lying about Broadband Expansion – Ars Technica
Member in the News: CAF II Winner Cal.net Shares Plans to Use CBRS for 100 Mbps Fixed Wireless – Telecompetitor
Members in the News: Using 5.9 GHz Band, WISPs Boost Internet Access During Pandemic – Inside Towers
Member in the News: Alaska Communications Makes Free Wi-Fi Available from Anchorage and Fairbanks School Parking Lots – Anchorage Daily News
Member in the News: HERO HIGHLIGHT: Community Internet Providers – Wills Point Chronicle
 
Shout Out

The following WISPs responded to our calls for stories on how they’re serving their communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Thanks for your help in helping the media and policymakers know what you’re doing, and for your great service to your local communities!

  • Rural Texas Broadband, Pearsall, TX
  • Byhalia.net, Bellefontaine, OH
  • ATC Communications, Arapahoe, NE
  • Wow-World of Wireless, Fort Smith, AR
  • Open Broadband, Salisbury, NC 
  • Amplex, Luckey, OH
  • Nexstream, Fredericksburg, TX
  • Portative Technologies, Corydon, IN
  • Smart Way Communications, New Philadelphia, OH
  • BPS Networks, Bernie, MO
  • GigaBeam Networks, Rich Creek, VA
  • Community Internet Providers, Wills Point, TX
  • Evertek, Inc., Everly, IA
  • Cherry Capital Connection, Elk Rapids, MI
  • Dom’s Mobile Hut, Chipley, FL
  • Alaska Communications, Anchorage, AK
  • Community Internet, LLC, Wills Point, TX
  • Southern Broadband, Crystal Beach, TX
  • Triad Wireless, Phoenix, AZ
  • Nextlink, Hudson Oaks, TX
  • ZIRKEL Wireless, Steamboat Springs, CO 
  • Wavelinc Communications, Bucyrus, OH
  • Intermax Networks, Coeur d'Alene, ID
  • Gtek Communications, Portland, TX
  • MJM Telecom Corp, Staten Island, NY
  • MetaLINK Technologies, Inc., Defiance, OH
  • TCCSkywire NW Inc., Errol, NH
  • Bolt Internet, Prescott, AZ
  • Kellin Communications, Larkspur, CO
  • Softcom Internet Communications, Galt, CA
  • Pathfinder Broadband, Roaring Fork Valley, CO