LOCAL WISPA MEMBERS SPEAK WITH FCC CHAIRMAN PAI AND EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR HIS INTERNET FREEDOM INITIATIVE
NEWS FROM WISPA – THE WIRELESS INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DECEMBER 7, 2017
Washington, DC – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai today reached out to have conversations with several operators of small, fixed-wireless internet service providers (WISPs) about his “internet freedom” initiative.
Chairman Pai is seeking to overturn a set of FCC rules that have created significant uncertainties and compliance burdens for small businesses that provide broadband.
David Giles, president and owner of InvisiMax in Warren, Minnesota, told Chairman Pai about the negative impacts of regulatory uncertainty on his business and his rural customers.
“All of the uncertainty about what the actual rules are, and how they apply to my business, and how they might apply in the future, is not attractive for investment. It’s risky. And when our compliance costs go up because of government action, we either have to reduce investment or increase prices to pass those costs on to our customers,” Giles told Pai.
Michael Whelan, CEO of AirLink Internet Services in Mounds, Oklahoma, told Chairman Pai that he agrees that the internet should be “free and open.” AirLink does not block or throttle any internet traffic; nor does it prioritize any content; and it provides clear and simple information to consumers about prices, service levels, privacy practices, and how to resolve complaints, Whelan said.
“If consumers have good and accurate information about the services we provide, they will be better at holding us to our word than some government process,” Whelan said.
Mark Radabaugh, president of Amplex Internet in Luckey, Ohio, and chairman of WISPA’s FCC Committee, expressed frustration with the FCC’s “general internet conduct” standard.
“I really don’t know what that means, and nobody has been able to explain this to me either,” Radabaugh said. “At Amplex, we always try to do right by our customers and would never intentionally do something wrong. But I can’t follow the rules if I don’t know what they are, or what they mean.
“If your internet freedom proposal is adopted,” Radabaugh told Pai, “I’m going to have a lot more certainty about what is expected of me as an operator, and that will translate into additional investment and opportunity in northwest Ohio and all over rural America.”
Most U.S. WISPs are small and medium-sized businesses serving rural areas with an average of 10 employees or less. In comments filed at the FCC in this proceeding, WISPA stated that the FCC’s “net neutrality” regulations, which are designed to treat all internet providers like large monopoly utilities, are taking resources away from investment in under-served areas and diverting them instead toward lawyers and compliance consultants.
The “light-touch” regulatory environment that existed from the earliest days of the internet until 2015 served consumers better than the new rules, WISPA said.
All three WISPA members thanked Chairman Pai for his leadership on this issue and expressed support for his efforts.
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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