80 California WISPA Members Urge Signing of California Bill AB2749Sacramento, CA, September 15, 2022 – WISPA – Broadband Without Boundaries, and its 80 California members urge Governor Gavin Newsom to sign AB 2749 into law. The legislation makes broadband grant dollars accessible to a wider variety of providers – such as Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) – enabling localities, who reside in rural, or mountainous, and other hard to serve areas, to use the best tools available to bridge the digital divide. This tech-neutral approach will yield greater results from funding dollars for all Californians, in particular helping unserved communities more flexibly access the internet to better their lives.
AB 2749 amends CPUC practice, which favored fiber-only builds for the use of limited broadband deployment subsidies. While fiber projects have many important uses, fiber is not always the right tool for the job. Eliminating the technologically myopic bias for fiber for this funding opens up choices, allowing the state and its localities to employ cost-effective, reliable, and agile wireless connectivity where it makes sense.
WISPA’s members provide a wide range of broadband solutions which connect rural, under-resourced, and Tribal areas. To reach these communities in California, WISPA members use fiber and fixed wireless solutions – an all-of-the-above approach that can be finely tailored to the unique characteristics of each individual community. Fixed wireless technology is a particularly powerful broadband solution, being quickly scalable, gigabit capable, and available virtually anywhere. Moreover, WISP networks can be built in a matter of weeks, not years, and at one-ninth the cost of fiber. It remains a popular choice in California, throughout the US, and globally, for communities which lack reliable broadband access.
Fixed wireless technology has allowed WISPA members to bring internet access to such places as LA’s public housing developments; medical outreach and relief facilities in Mendota; over miles of ocean to Catalina Island; and sparsely populated farmland that nevertheless relies on high-tech precision agriculture practices in Central California, among hundreds-of-thousands of other rural, urban, and Tribal locations within the state.
“WISPs fill in the gap where other companies cannot or will not step in,” said WISPA member Kenneth Garnett, Chief Strategy Officer of Cal.net, Inc., in testimony before the California State Senate Committee hearing the bill this summer. “AB 2749 rightly recognizes the state should not miss these opportunities to expand coverage to areas that are still in dire need of service.”
Basil Alwan, CEO of Tarana, a next-gen fixed wireless technology provider based in northern California, reported that “WISPs throughout California use our technology to routinely deliver 400+ Mbps per subscriber. These high-capacity fixed wireless networks can both accelerate digital divide projects and bring healthy competition — and more affordable broadband — across the state. AB 2749 will enable companies like ours to enhance internet availability and experiences throughout California at large scale.”
“An inclusive approach to broadband deployment smartly enlists the help of those on the ground, such as WISPA’s community-based providers, many of whom employ both fiber and fixed wireless technologies in their networks,” noted Steven Schwerbel, State Advocacy Manager for WISPA. “AB 2749 keeps fidelity to this accommodating approach because, simply, it works – quickly, cost-effectively, and in a manner which promotes ‘future-proof’ growth which serves vital communities in need.”
Added Schwerbel, “WISPA commends the legislature for passing this prescient legislation, and we urge the Governor to sign the bill so more communities can come online today, not years from now.”
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.