WISPA Statement on Today's House Spectrum Policy Hearing: Good Policy Must Help Entire Ecosystem Thrive, Especially Small Rural Providers
The following statement may be attributed to Christina Mason, WISPA VP of government affairs:
Washington, DC, July 16, 2019 – WISPA is encouraged by today’s House hearing on building comprehensive spectrum policy. To be sure, wireless services – which are carried via federally-limited spectrum – drive our digital economy and represent an important tool in bridging the digital divide. For this success story to continue, policymakers have long known that all players in the wireless ecosystem need more spectrum. Simply put, the Federal government must redouble its efforts to get more useful spectrum into the hands of those who can quickly put it to use.
But there is more to building comprehensive policy than that. A lot of the focus of the media, policymakers, and even the witnesses here today has been placed on clearing the way for America to “win the race to 5G.” WISPA believes that good spectrum policy is about fostering an environment which helps the entire wireless ecosystem thrive, especially for small providers serving America’s rural and forgotten communities.
It’s one that recognizes that high-speed broadband will not solely be delivered by incumbent mobile carriers, especially in rural areas. That it takes a healthy mix of paths – licensed, lightly-licensed, and unlicensed spectrum – so that the wireless revolution can make it to all Americans, no matter where they live.
It ensures that small rural providers get a fair shot at accessing airwaves that are critical building blocks to fast, reliable broadband.
It allows flexible use of spectrum, which has for some bands been dedicated to entire industries for decades for their exclusive use.
It looks to new ways to make more efficient use of the spectrum through dynamic sharing and other technologies.
It promotes active and inclusive secondary markets for spectrum, enabling small providers a greater shot at acquiring spectrum rights.
It provides targeted subsidy programs that expedite broadband deployment to truly unserved locations in a technologically-neutral and cost-effective manner.
It opens up fast, fair and reasonable access to infrastructure for all providers, be it on Federal, state, municipal or private property.
And, it helps small providers stay competitive by ensuring that regulatory burdens are appropriately calibrated for those who have the least ability to shoulder them.
This is comprehensive spectrum policy. And we stand ready to work with Congress, the FCC, the NTIA and others to build it so all Americans can better participate in our digital economy.
WISPA’s approximately 800 members are composed of fixed Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) and the industry that supports fixed wireless broadband, including equipment suppliers, support services, and other components needed to run a successful business. Our members, and WISPs, in general, provide broadband access to over 4 million residential and business customers, often in exclusively rural areas.