Dale Curtis
/ Categories: Press Release, FCC News

FCC’s Rural Broadband Plan is Digital Favoritism, Not Digital Empowerment, WISPA Says


Washington, DC (February 23, 2017) – On behalf of thousands of small, competitive broadband providers serving more than 3 million customers across America, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) is very disappointed by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) action today in adopting additional rules for the upcoming Connect America Fund (CAF II) auction.

On a divided vote, the commissioners approved new guidelines for a “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.

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.

Then, in May 2016, the FCC adopted a framework for the auction that reflected many of the features of a WISPA proposal that sought technology-neutral, cost-effective, performance-based rules.

Today’s action went back in the wrong direction, adding features that will tend to favor the costliest technologies (fiber) over the most cost-effective (wireless). This approach will cost the Universal Service Fund more money to serve fewer homes and businesses.

“Today’s decision is a squandered opportunity for the American taxpayer and rural Americans,” said Alex Phillips, president of WISPA. “This plan idigital favoritism, not digital empowerment.”

“Rather than using the auction to drive competition and spur innovation, the FCC’s plan will disproportionately subsidize a particular access technology that large corporations have tried and abandoned in hard-to-reach areas due to excessive cost, slow deployment, and lack of demand. As a result, too many rural Americans will remain on the wrong side of the digital divide, and those who do get access will have to wait much longer to be connected to ‘Lamborghini’ service.”  

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


WISPA is a membership-driven trade association that promotes the development, advancement and unity of the fixed wireless internet service provider industry. For more information, visit www.wispa.org.

Media Inquiries:

Dale Curtis for WISPA, dale@dalecurtiscommunications.comTel: (202) 495-3701 (office) or 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!