WISPA Holds Annual Day of Advocacy on Capitol Hill

Washington, DC, May 17, 2023 – WISPA – Broadband Without Boundaries welcomes representatives from over 25 WISPA member companies as they spread out over Capitol Hill for the association’s annual day of advocacy.  During the day-long event, WISP operators and broadband solutions providers are meeting with over 50 different legislators and discussing how WISPs connect millions of Americans with reliable broadband service.  In these meetings, WISPA members are urging Congress to support policies that encourage small companies like WISPs to help bring connectivity to all Americans, regardless of location.    

WISPA represents the interests of the evolving Internet service provider ecosystem: small, innovative entrepreneurs who provide fixed broadband solutions to consumers, businesses, first responders, and community anchor institutions.  WISPs serve 9 million Americans in unserved, under-resourced and Tribal territories of the country, quickly and affordably offering cost-effective, competitive and innovative service options where they did not previously exist.  They use a variety of technology – such as fiber; and exclusive use licensed, licensed-by-rule .and unlicensed wireless spectrum – to deliver reliable broadband to their customers.

During the congressional meetings, WISPA members are laying out four top priorities to Members and staff, calling for:
  • Where needed, targeted subsidy programs that expedite broadband deployment to unserved locations in a technology-flexible and cost-effective manner.
  • Balanced spectrum approaches, ensuring that small providers have a fair shot at accessing airwaves that are critical building blocks for fast, reliable broadband.
  • Fast and fair access to infrastructure for broadband deployments no matter the location, whether Federal, state, municipal or private.
  • And, should they be necessary, laws and regulation that are right-sized for small companies.
The day of advocacy comes at a critical juncture for the industry.  Too many Americans lack broadband.  Recognizing this, government actors have become more actively involved to narrow or eliminate the lingering gap.  However, programs like NTIA’s BEAD NOFO have strayed from congressional intent and, in a practical sense, have greatly inhibited state flexibility in eradicating the divide.  The program’s breadth, complexity and rigid technical limitations significantly constrain who and what can be used by states to close the gap, essentially sidelining small ISPs like WISPs who are core participants in bringing connectivity to communities that lack reliable broadband.     

“Our members want Congress to support policies that are tech-flexible and invite diverse solutions to answer our toughest connectivity challenges,” said Matt Mandel, VP of Government Affairs for WISPA.  “Achieving this ensures connecting more Americans faster, more cost-effectively and with less waste – something WISPs do so well, 24/7/365.”
Added Mandel, “WISPs are integral to their communities’ continued prosperity.  Congress must make sure that policy, law and regulation work to foster that vital partnership.  WISPA is excited to have our members up here on Capitol Hill, putting a ‘human face’ on an industry that makes millions of American lives better.” 

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