Dale Curtis
/ Categories: Press Release, FCC News

FCC’S “CONNECT AMERICA FUND” AUCTION PROPOSALS NEED CHANGES TO PROMOTE BROAD PARTICIPATION, MAXIMIZE BENEFITS FOR RURAL AMERICANS

PRESS RELEASE

Washington, DC -- The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposals for the upcoming Connect America Fund (CAF II) auction are a step backward from the goal of closing the urban-rural digital divide, according to the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA).

The FCC’s proposals would govern the upcoming “reverse auction” in which companies will bid to receive portions of a $2 billion fund to support voice and broadband deployment in under-served areas over the next 10 years. The auction is scheduled for 2018.

However, in comments filed at the FCC, WISPA said the commission’s proposed rules are needlessly complex and restrictive, and if adopted will result in fewer broadband providers being deemed eligible to participate, “especially small providers that can quickly deploy cost-effective fixed wireless networks to targeted areas.”

Competition for funding will be reduced to a few large companies, winning bids will take larger chunks of the fund, and fewer areas will be funded, all outcomes that run counter to the goals of the CAF program, the WISPA filing said.

WISPA represents hundreds of small broadband providers that use fixed wireless technology to serve more than 4 million Americans in hard-to-reach areas. One of the sector’s ongoing challenges is overcoming the FCC’s tendency to impose complex and burdensome regulations on smaller providers that are a key part of the solution to America’s rural broadband needs.  

“We’re at a loss to understand why the FCC is making this program so complex and difficult for experienced broadband providers, especially those that have track records of successfully serving rural areas with affordable service,” said WISPA President Chuck Hogg.  

“Rather than using the auction to drive competitive bidding by making it easier for smaller providers to participate, the FCC’s plan would saddle them with eligibility and financial criteria and procedural complexity that will block many from participating,” Hogg said. “For example, the FCC is proposing to subject prospective bidders to financial criteria that some price-cap carriers, which already receive federal support from the same program, would not satisfy.”

“If these rules are adopted, too many rural communities will remain on the wrong side of the digital divide. The FCC can and must do better,” Hogg said.   

Over the last two years, WISPA has promoted a framework for the auction that would be more technology-neutral, cost-effective, and performance-based. As the discussion moves forward, WISPA will continue to work with the FCC and all stakeholders to advocate for a fair and balanced auction for the subsidies.

 

Media Inquiries:                                                            

Dale Curtis for WISPA

dale@dalecurtiscommunications.com

Tel: (202) 495-3701 (office) or 202-246-5659 (mobile) 

 

About WISPA

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.

All Other Inquiries:

Trina Coffey, tcoffey@wispa.org, 866-317-2851

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WISPA News

Below is a list of WISPA press releases and news articles about the Association and Industry.


2016
Date
Title 
December 16, 2016
Wireless Internet Service Providers Extremely Disappointed by FCC’s Inaction on Small Business Exemption
December 13, 2016
WISPAclips: News from Around the Internet - 12/13/16
December 5, 2016
Wireless Internet Service Providers Raise Concerns About Impacts of AT&T-Time Warner Merger; Call On Federal Authorities to Reject It
November 7, 2016
WISPAclips: News from Around the Internet - 11/07/16
October 27, 2016
Fixed Wireless Broadband Providers Appreciate FCC’S Sensitivity to Small Broadband Providers in New Consumer Privacy Rules
October 13, 2016
Fixed Wireless Industry Poised for Robust Growth and Greater Policy Activism (WISPAPALOOZA Wrapup)
September 20, 2016
WISPA Teams with METAvivor for Pink Day at WISPAPALOOZA
August 12, 2016
WISPA Elects New Officers and Board Members for 2016-2017 Term
August 10, 2016
Wireless Internet Service Providers Applaud Federal Court Decision on Municipal Broadband
July 25, 2016
A Growing Consensus That the FCC Must Change Course on Privacy
June 15, 2016
Wireless Internet Service Providers Welcome Senate Committee Vote to Protect Small Businesses and Rural Americans
June 14, 2016
Wireless Internet Service Providers Disappointed by Court's Decision Upholding FCC Regulations
June 8, 2016
Experts to FCC: Change Course on Broadband Privacy Rules
May 25, 2016
Small Internet Service Providers Applaud FCC Action to Promote Broadband Build-Out in Under-Served Areas
May 19, 2016
New Overtime Rules Affect Small Businesses
March 16, 2016
Wireless Internet Service Providers Praise the U.S. House for Protecting Small Businesses and Rural Americans
February 25, 2016
House Committee Action Paves Way to Progress in Full House and Senate
January 12, 2016
WISPA Asks Congress For ISP Small Business Regulatory Certainty
 
2015
Date
Title
December 16, 2015

WISPA Hails FCC Decision Extending Small Business Relief
November 20, 2015

WISPA Applauds House of Representatives for Support of Small Business Exemption from New Open Internet Disclosure
October 6, 2015

WISPA Appoints New Committee Chairpersons, Officers and Welcomes Elected Board of Directors
August 13, 2015

WISPA Responds to FCC’s Unlicensed TV Band Spectrum Ruling
June 29, 2015

(Wireless Week) - WISPA: Wi-Fi, LTE-U Coexistence Requires More than Just “Benign Intentions”
June 2, 2015

The FCC’s Extension of U-NII Compliance Deadline Benefits WISPA and The Fixed Wireless Industry
May 19, 2015

WISPA Meets With Policymakers on Capitol Hill
May 12, 2015

WISPA Holds Policy Summit in Washington D.C.
May 5, 2015

WISPA Board Member Appointed to FCC Consumer Advisory Committee
May 1, 2015

WISPA Asks FCC to Stay Title II and Internet Conduct Rules
April 28, 2015

WISPA Files For Court Review of FCC’s Open Internet Order
April 17, 2015

WISPA Applauds the FCC’s New Spectrum Sharing Ruling
March 2, 2015

WISPAmerica 2015 Surpasses Attendance Record
February 26, 2015 

Municipal Broadband Ruling by FCC Jeopardizes Private Sector Investments
February 26, 2015  

Open Internet Ruling Receives Mixed Reaction from the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association
February 25, 2015

WISPA Comments on the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing
February 10, 2015

FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly to Keynote at WISPAmerica 2015
February 4, 2015

WISPA Urges Regulators to Defer Vote on Net Neutrality Rules
January 21, 2015

WISPA Responds to State of the Union
January 5, 2015

New WISPA Website and Member Portal Coming Soon!