Dale Curtis
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Carmel, CA – A new report by analyst firm The Carmel Group forecasts robust growth for the U.S. fixed wireless broadband industry, with the nationwide number of subscribers projected to nearly double from more than 4 million at the end of 2016 to 8 million by 2021. Core industry revenues are expected to nearly double from $2.3 billion to more than $5.2 billion.  

The report also says the economics of fixed wireless make it the most cost-effective broadband solution for rural and other under-served areas because networks can be built and upgraded faster and at a fraction of the cost of networks based on DSL, fiber, or cable (see chart).

“Based on a wealth of new data, The Carmel Group rates the BWA industry’s growth prospects as stronger than those of cable, fiber, and satellite TV,” says report author Jimmy Schaeffler. “Optimism is in short supply in today's pay TV and broadband markets, so the fixed wireless industry is an exciting success story.”  



“Ready for Takeoff: The BWA Industry Report 2017” is the most comprehensive study ever conducted of the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) industry. BWA providers are also called “fixed wireless” providers or “wireless internet service providers” (WISPs).

BWA providers transmit high volumes of internet data to fixed locations such as residences, businesses, and community anchor institutions using antennas mounted on towers and buildings. In contrast, mobile wireless networks generally transmit lower volumes of data to non-stationary receivers such as smartphones.

According to the report, the U.S. BWA industry is composed of more than 2,000 mostly small- and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, with an average of 1,200 customers each. BWA providers are also proven success stories in other nations including Australia, Canada, Italy, the Philippines, and Russia.

The report delves into the key industry growth drivers, including:

  • Explosive consumer demand for broadband services, especially video, and pent-up demand in under-served areas;
  • Favorable network deployment economics;
  • The industry’s ability to use unlicensed and shared spectrum resources;
  • Ever-improving technology at competitive prices (including global-standards-based LTE equipment);
  • Expanding capital availability; and
  • The emergence of new markets and service categories that BWA can support.

The report also notes that while the overall outlook for the BWA industry is highly positive, there are significant challenges, including a bias in federal regulations toward the needs of national mobile wireless carriers and urban fixed wireline solutions such as cable and fiber.

The report is based on independent research conducted in 2016, including 30 two-hour interviews with representatives of wireless broadband service providers, vendors, and thought leaders. Other sources included the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), Wireless Communications Association International (WCAI), bankers and financiers, other groups and telecom companies, and filings at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Extensive surveys of operators, equipment manufacturers, and vendors were distributed to members of WISPA and WCAI to gain another layer of research and analysis. A higher-than-average response rate to the surveys translates into an unusual degree of confidence behind both the surveys and the report.

The report is available from The Carmel Group or www.WISPA.org. Detailed survey data is available for sale by contacting The Carmel Group.


About The Carmel Group

The Carmel Group, located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, was founded in 1996 as a spin-off from Paul Kagan Associates. Consulting, especially telecom, media, and technology litigation support and competitive analysis, research, publishing, journalism, and conference support, are our key areas of activity. The Carmel Group also prides itself on four decades’ worth of business development strategic advisory services, merger and acquisition advisory services, and investment advisory services for companies in the telecommunications, digital media, mobile communications, and high technology sectors. Early focus on the Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) industry was supplemented a few years later by a broader refocus on the larger pay TV and broadcast video industries, and recently eMobility, iMobility, and the Internet of Things, which now also leads us into an additional focus on the new online video/Over-The-Top (OTT) and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) areas of video distribution.



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 CONTACT: Dale Curtis, dale@dalecurtiscommunications.com, 202-246-5659 (mobile)

All Other Inquiries:

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

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

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
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!