FCC Proposal Is a Triple Win for WISPs, Rural Americans, and U.S. Taxpayers

Washington, DC (May 25, 2016) – On behalf of thousands of wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) serving more than 3 million consumers across America, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) is applauding the Federal Communications Commission’s new plan for a competitive “reverse auction” for broadband deployment subsidies under Phase II of the Connect America Fund (CAF II).

The auction will provide an opportunity to bid on more than $200 million per year for the next 10 years to support voice and broadband deployment in unserved areas.

Members of WISPA had major concerns about the FCC’s original approach, put forward in September 2015, because it favored specific broadband access technologies over others without regard to cost-effectiveness or speed of deployment; and it would have effectively barred bidders who proposed to use unlicensed spectrum to deliver broadband.

The plan adopted today in a unanimous, bipartisan FCC vote reflects many of the features of a WISPA proposal that was submitted to the FCC in March 2016 to address these concerns. Specifically:

  • Competition and technology: By elevating the importance of performance criteria, the plan reduces disparities between specific access technologies and instead improves the playing field for all bidders who can deliver needed service in a cost-effective manner.
  • Small-business friendly: The FCC members and staff also addressed WISPA’s concerns about eligibility criteria that would have discouraged participation by smaller, entrepreneurial companies.   
  • Unlicensed spectrum: The FCC’s order recognizes the importance of unlicensed spectrum, a public resource that is already being successfully used to connect millions of rural Americans.

“The FCC’s new framework for the Connect America Fund auction will encourage greater competition, improve accountability for the taxpayer, and accelerate the effort to bring high-quality Internet service to more rural areas,” said Alex Phillips, president of WISPA and founder of HighSpeedLink.net in Harrisonburg, Virginia. 

“WISPA appreciates the efforts of Chairman Wheeler, other commissioners, and the Wireline Competition Bureau staff who considered and addressed the concerns we raised in this process. The order approved today is dramatically improved as a result,” Phillips said.  

As the plan for the CAF II auction moves forward, WISPA will continue to work with the FCC and all stakeholders to advocate for a fair and balanced auction for the subsidies.

Click here to read the FCC's press release on the details.

Click here for a PDF copy of WISPA press release.


WISPA is a membership-driven trade association that promotes the development, advancement and unity of the fixed wireless Internet service provider industry. WISPA has over 800 members that support WISPA’s advocacy, education and other collaborative industry initiatives. For more information, visit www.wispa.org.

Media Inquiries:

Dale Curtis
Tel: (202) 246-5659