WISPA Responds to Thune Broadband Deployment Inquiry

Washington, DC, January 13, 2023 – WISPA – Broadband Without Boundaries, filed comments with Senator John Thune, responding to his December 6, 2022, request for feedback on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), as well as on general communications policies to promote more broadband deployment in the 118thCongress.

As WISPA President and CEO, David Zumwalt, notes in WISPA’s response, “While Congress has risen to the challenge of providing urgent funding to help close the digital divide, WISPA believes this laudable goal will not be achieved in a reasonable amount of time if agencies charged with implementation of broadband deployment programs ignore Congress’s intent of targeting valuable taxpayer resources to truly unserved locations via a technology-neutral approach, bringing more solutions and flexibility to bear to this pernicious, national challenge.”

Among other things, the balance of WISPA’s comments focus on:
  • The need for the NTIA’s BEAD NOFO to better align with Congress’ intent to serve the unserved and allow states to flexibly employ all tools – including unlicensed fixed wireless – where needed;
  • Improving BEAD program transparency;
  • Preventing overbuilding by allowing unlicensed fixed wireless to be employed in BEAD grants, limiting support of government-owned “competitors,” and avoiding the use of BEAD funds for locations that are already served by networks which the FCC has determined meet their universal service obligations;
  • Building upon the success of “light touch” regulation and boosting other policies which incentivize more private broadband deployment;
  • Helping small ISPs by ensuring regulatory burdens and other related processes are appropriately calibrated;
  • And, providing more commercial spectrum which can be meaningfully accessed or shared by all, especially small ISPs, to help bridge the digital divide.
The 118th Congress has many opportunities in front of it to ensure that all who do not have broadband do.  Senator Thune’s inquiry will provide legislators powerful insight into how that can be accomplished via the IIJA and its proper implementation, as well as through other policies that bring more solutions to the table which can quickly and cost-effectively deliver broadband to the unserved.

WISPA is excited to help Congress and all stakeholders achieve these important goals.

A copy of the letter can be obtained here

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