COMMENTS FILED AT FCC SHOW STRONG SUPPORT FOR COALITION PROPOSAL TO BOOST HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND ACCESS IN RURAL AND UNDERSERVED AREAS.
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Washington, DC – More than 500 organizations and individuals are expressing strong support of a WISPA-backed plan to speed the deployment of fixed wireless broadband services in tribal, rural, and suburban areas where consumer choice is lacking.
The rural-broadband plan was proposed in a June 21 Petition for Rulemaking at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), filed by members of the new Broadband Access Coalition, including WISPA and more than 20 service providers, equipment vendors, trade associations and non-profit public advocacy groups.
More than 500 favorable comments were received on the petition by the August 7 deadline, compared to just a handful of negative comments.
The WISPA-backed plan would authorize a new, licensed, point-to-multipoint (P2MP) fixed wireless service in the 3700-4200 MHz spectrum band, which today is under-utilized by fixed satellite services. The proposed licensing scheme and operating rules would enable gigabit and near-gigabit broadband service in rural and underserved areas, and promote competition for broadband delivery among various technologies and licensees.
However, the path forward at the FCC is still unclear. On August 3, the FCC adopted a broader Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on the use of “mid-band” spectrum, which includes spectrum in the 3700-4200 MHz and 5925-7125 MHz bands. WISPA believes the NOI would lead to years of regulatory delay and uncertainty, preventing small, locally based, fixed wireless providers from going ahead with rural broadband deployments in the 3700-4200 band.
“The outpouring of support for our petition is evidence that we’re on the right track,” says Mark Radabaugh, WISPA’s FCC Committee chair. “WISPA believes that the fastest, simplest, most cost-effective way to finally close the rural broadband gap and bring affordable broadband to millions of Americans who lack access and choice is the approach we proposed on June 21.
“However, we do look forward to participating in the proceeding and offering a way forward on both portions of the mid-band spectrum.”
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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.
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