FCC VOTE IS A STEP BACKWARD FOR RURAL BROADBAND, WISPA SAYS
Washington, DC – Federal policies adopted just two years to stimulate investment in rural broadband networks are now at risk, following a vote today at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Bowing to mobile industry pressure, the FCC voted 4 to 1 to begin a process to revise the rules for the 3.5 GHz “Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)” spectrum band.
The changes sought by the mobile industry include expanding the geographic size of licenses from census tracts to much larger areas; extending license terms from three years to 10; and adding an undefined “renewal expectancy.” Taken together, these changes would benefit only the largest mobile wireless carriers and effectively preclude entrepreneurial WISPs from using this spectrum to provide fixed broadband to unserved rural Americans.
"While we applaud the efforts of Commissioner Clyburn to achieve a more balanced NRPM, we are very disappointed that, once again, the FCC has prioritized the ‘wants’ of the mobile industry over the ‘needs’ of rural Americans,” said Chuck Hogg, Chairman of WISPA’s Board of Directors. “Using census tracts for Priority Access License sizes allows all interested bidders to compete and lets the market determine the highest and best use of this unique public resource. Shifting to larger geographic areas such as Partial Economic Areas would create an artificial restriction that inherently benefits mobile carriers to the detriment of all other use cases.”
“This is America’s only spectrum band with rules designed to close the rural broadband gap, and our members have been making significant investments to do just that, in reliance on the current rules,” Hogg added.
“While WISPA agrees with Commissioner Rosenworcel that this proceeding takes a step backwards towards business as usual, we appreciate the Commission’s willingness to explore other potential solutions that address the needs of rural Americans and small businesses. WISPA and our members will continue as active participants in this proceeding and hope to work with all stakeholders to achieve the best possible outcome.”
For more information, download the WISPA fact sheet at http://www.wispa.org/Wispa-News/ArtMID/13028/ArticleID/198/CategoryID/38/CategoryName/FCC-News/WISPA-Fact-Sheet-on-the-CBRS-Spectrum-Controversy.
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.
Dale Curtis for WISPA, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: (202) 495-3701 (office) or 202-246-5659 (mobile)
Breyana Franklin, email@example.com, 301-346-0056 (mobile)