The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) represents thousands of small businesses that provide “fixed wireless” broadband services to more than 4 million people across the country, many who reside in rural and remote areas. Most WISPs have built their networks with private, at-risk capital without using federal subsidies.
WISPA is very active with its advocacy efforts with both the Federal Communications Commission as well as on Capitol Hill. Fixed Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) use primarily unlicensed spectrum and are regulated by the FCC. Unlike many telephone companies, they receive no Federal government subsidies. Members rely on private financing and cost-efficient technology to deliver broadband services in areas where large corporate providers have failed to deliver the promised service.
The primary method of Internet deployment for fixed providers is the unlicensed spectrum. Industries such as baby monitors, smart grid systems, garage door openers and many more use an increasingly crowded group of channels. Free innovation on these frequencies has far outweighed the singular use by licensed companies which serve only their own customers.
Many in Congress and the FCC support more spectrum for unlicensed use while licensed companies try to obtain more for their exclusive use. The billions paid for spectrum by licensed corporations are quickly recouped through high monthly cellular bills. Unlicensed spectrum serves to drive the American engine of innovation and low cost rural deployment. It’s a very different business model than licensed spectrum and allows the American public access to a national asset – spectrum.
All regulations affecting the use of unlicensed spectrum impact wireless Internet service providers, which are generally locally-owned small business owners whose goals are to generate a modest return and to serve a community in which they have a personal interest.
The following are WISPA's advocacy goals:
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- Encourage Congress and the FCC to write laws that support the survival and success of community-based wireless Internet service providers (WISPs).
- Provide online technical forums that enable and encourage the sharing and exchange of information between members of the WISP community.
- Demystify government rules and regulations.
- Publicize, promote, demonstrate and maintain a Code of Ethical Business Practices.
- Promote and support industry-wide communication, coordination and cooperation between local WISP organizations, national WISP organizations, community wireless organizations and wireless industry vendors.
WISPA Policy Priorities
WISPA’s federal legislative and regulatory efforts are focused on four primary objectives:
Balanced spectrum approaches, ensuring that small and rural providers have a fair shot at
accessing airwaves that are critical building blocks for fast, reliable broadband.
Targeted subsidy programs that expedite broadband deployment to unserved locations in a
technology-neutral and cost-effective manner.
Fast and fair access to infrastructure for broadband deployments no matter the location,
whether federal, state, municipal, or private.
Keeping small businesses competitive by ensuring regulatory burdens are appropriately
calibrated for those who have the least ability to shoulder them.
READ MORE ABOUT WISPA POLICY PRIORITIES