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WISPA Files Comments at FCC Supporting Commission's Update of OTARD Rule

WISPA Files Comments at FCC Supporting Commission's Update of OTARD Rule

 Washington, DC, June 3, 2019 – Today, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) filed comments with the FCC strongly supporting the Commission’s proposal to modernize its OTARD rules to facilitate deployment of modern fixed wireless infrastructure by extending OTARD protection to hub and relay antennas at a consumer’s premises.

Towns and HOAs once prevented homeowners and renters from putting antennas, such as satellite dishes, on their property.  Congress changed this in 1996 by creating a rule (through the FCC) to preempt state and local governments or private entities from impairing the ability of antenna users to install, maintain, or use over-the-air-reception technology.    

OTARD was eventually extended to cover other antennas that “receive or transmit fixed wireless signals.”  The rule, however, hasn’t kept up with technology.  The last major update to OTARD occurred almost 20 years ago.  Hub sites, which are integral to today’s fixed wireless broadband systems by leveraging vertical infrastructure closer to the consumer, are not covered by the rule.

In the filing, WISPA voiced strong support for the agency’s proposal to “eliminate the restriction that currently excludes hub and relay antennas from the scope of the OTARD provisions.”  WISPA further urged the Commission to update the rule to apply to all fixed wireless transmitters and receivers, regardless of whether the equipment is used for reception, transmission, or both, so long as the equipment meets the existing size restrictions for customers.

“Updating OTARD rules to allow small broadband hubs – technology the size of a pizza box – to be placed on private property will have a supersized effect on rural broadband deployment,” stated WISPA president and CEO, Claude Aiken. “It lowers barriers to siting fixed wireless facilities, enabling use of existing infrastructure free from onerous, local permitting requirements,” noted Aiken.  “The Commission’s proposal must be commended.  This little change will help WISPs and small providers extend their networks farther, to deliver better broadband service to more Americans.”

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

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