WISPA PRAISES TRUMP’S RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN, BUT CAUTIONS AGAINST OVER-RELIANCE ON FEDERAL SUBSIDIES
Washington, DC -- The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) is praising the national infrastructure plan released today by the Trump administration, noting its strong emphasis on expanding investment in rural broadband networks.
“We are excited by the president’s focus on rural broadband,” said WISPA Chairman Chuck Hogg. “With an estimated 24 million rural Americans on the wrong side of the digital divide, there is no higher priority in U.S. telecom policy than closing the rural broadband gap.”
However, the group cautioned that any new federal support for rural broadband should not be used to subsidize large broadband carriers to compete against smaller ones, as has happened all too often in the past.
Moreover, the group noted that fixed wireless technology is the most cost-effective solution for broadband access, especially in rural areas; and that subsidies alone are an ineffective approach to spurring investment in fixed wireless providers.
“We encourage the Trump administration and the Congress to take a new approach and not focus primarily on subsidies as the policy response,” Hogg added. “All too often, subsidies tend to reinforce the dominance of larger carriers and non-cost-effective technologies. Any new subsidies must be distributed in a way that is technology-neutral, cost-effective, performance-based, and accessible to smaller providers.”
“Equally important, the FCC’s upcoming decision on the ‘CBRS’ spectrum band has enormous implications for rural broadband,” Hogg added. “Any changes to the CBRS rules that create new barriers for small providers will work against the administration’s rural broadband push.”
WISPA has been working to discourage the FCC from adopting changes in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band that would effectively block small ISPs from using those airwaves to serve rural areas. (See http://www.wispa.org/Advocacy/CBRS_SPECTRUM.)
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.
Dale Curtis and Breyana Franklin for WISPA
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