WISPAPALOOZA 2017: WISPA MEMBERS CALL ON FCC TO PRESERVE CBRS RULES, MOVE FORWARD ON COALITION’S MID-BAND PETITION, AS THOUSANDS ARE ENERGIZED BY GROUP’S LARGEST-EVER SHOW
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- October 16, 2017
WISPA MEMBERS CALL ON FCC TO PRESERVE CBRS RULES, MOVE FORWARD ON COALITION’S MID-BAND PETITION, AS THOUSANDS ARE ENERGIZED BY GROUP’S LARGEST-EVER SHOW
Las Vegas, NV – The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) ended its largest-ever annual show on a high note, with members vowing to step up pressure on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt pro-innovation, pro-rural policies in two front-burner proceedings.
On one front, fixed wireless broadband providers are working with dozens of allies to resist mobile industry demands to erect new barriers in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum band (3550-3700 MHz). A plan backed by Commissioner Michael O’Rielly and the mobile industry would overturn pro-innovation rules adopted unanimously by the FCC – twice – in 2014 and 2015. Dozens of companies are already making significant investments in the CBRS band, counting on the current rules. The reversal is on the agenda of the FCC’s monthly meeting on Oct. 24.
On another front, the mostly rural-based members of WISPA are urging the FCC to approve a petition for rulemaking to open the under-utilized 3700-4200 MHz band on terms that make sense for smaller broadband providers, while encouraging competition and allowing other uses. Under mobile industry pressure, the FCC is prioritizing a much broader and more time-consuming review of multiple spectrum bands, which would lead to years of regulatory delay and no near-term progress for rural America.
“The 23 million rural Americans who lack basic broadband service in their homes should be outraged if the FCC continues on its current course and once again ends up prioritizing urban capacity over rural coverage,” said Chairman of WISPA’s Board of Directors Chuck Hogg. “Bowing to pressure from the mobile carriers and erecting new barriers to access and innovation will not result in the progress that is desperately needed in thousands of under-served areas.”
“Working with a diverse group of allies, we will be stepping up our efforts to educate policymakers about the merits of our approach,” Hogg added.
The FCC’s regulations were the focus of 13 packed sessions at WISPAPALOOZA 2017, the association’s annual autumn gathering, which ran from October 9-13. Almost 80 other sessions delved into a wide array of business and technical issues, imparting all kinds of knowledge needed to run WISP businesses better.
Another Record-Setting Show
This year’s event was the association’s largest ever, with more than 1,800 attendees from 51 U.S. states and territories and 31 countries. The event also boasted 36 sponsors and 129 exhibitors selling wireless and tower technology, software, cloud services, VoIP solutions, consulting, mapping services and more.
On “Fiber Friday,” fiber equipment manufacturers and consultants offered educational sessions to nearly 300 operators who are now or soon deploying fiber to the home (FTTH) in addition to wireless services. Other certification and training sessions were offered before and after the show.
Industry awards were presented to Cambium Networks for Manufacturer of the Year, Product of the Year, and Service of the Year; Prairie Hills Wireless for Operator of the Year; Streakwave for Distributor of the Year; and Tower Coverage for Service of the Year. GTEK Wireless was honored with the Triumph Award for overcoming adversity; Nathan Stooke of Wisper ISP was Volunteer of the Year; and Alex Phillips of Rural Broadband Network Services received the Visionary Award.
This year’s Diamond Sponsors were Baicells; ConVergence; PowerCode; Telrad; Ubiquiti Networks; and Visp.net. The Platinum Sponsors were Baltic Networks USA; Bicom Systems; Cambium Networks; Radwin; RF Elements; Rackspace Email; Ritalia Funding; SAF; Streakwave; and Winncomm Technologies. The Gold Sponsors were American Tower; DoubleRadius; NetSapiens; Saisei; and Subcarrier Communications. The Silver Sponsors were Alliance Corp.; EUPEN Cable USA; Grandstream; IgniteNet; Lerman Senter; mbsiWAV; Tycon Systems; ViaSat; WAV; and ZTE.
Optimistic Five-Year Forecast
The industry’s optimistic outlook was also confirmed in a new report from industry analyst Jimmy Schaeffler of The Carmel Group, which predicts the number of fixed wireless subscribers will nearly double from approximately 4 million today to 8 million in 2021, making it the fastest-growing broadband access technology. The report also shows that fixed wireless is the most cost-effective broadband access technology, as networks can be built quickly and at a fraction of the cost of other technologies.
The WISP industry is comprised of more than 2,000 mostly small- and medium-sized businesses, serving more than 4 million customers across the United States in mostly rural and under-served areas. Most of the wireless internet service providers, or WISPs, are led by entrepreneurs who live in the communities they serve.
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.
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