WISPA Welcomes Court's Decision Upholding Key Aspects of FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom Order
The following statement may be attributed to Claude Aiken, president and CEO of WISPA:
Washington, DC, October 1, 2019 – Today’s decision marks another significant milestone in the long-running debate over the FCC’s open Internet rules. WISPA has been keenly following and engaging on this issue during the long-haul, working to make sure that any rules developed by the FCC both protect consumers while simultaneously not over-burdening our membership with costly and counterproductive rules and regulations. WISPA filed a Joint Brief, along with ACA, CTIA, NCTA, and USTelecom in support of the FCC’s 2018 Order.
Though we are still carefully reviewing the D.C. Circuit’s decision, we welcome its outcome. The onerous Title II rules, which the FCC adopted in 2015, presented a significant obstacle to deployment for our members, the overwhelming majority of whom are small ISPs serving underserved rural communities. The FCC’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIFO) for the most part represents the right approach to these matters – one which keeps inapt, utility regulation away from the Internet, and in doing so, promotes ubiquitous broadband deployment via the light-touch regulatory regime WISPA has favored.
Pole access also is impacted by this decision. Our members are not traditional common carriers or cable operators, and, with the Court’s upholding of RIFO which repeals reclassification, that means our members cannot access poles via the Communications Act. We urge Congress and the Commission to address this in a manner which brings all communications players to the table – not one which excludes the very entities bringing broadband to America’s underserved rural communities, such as WISPA’s members.
Ultimately, WISPA stands ready to work with all stakeholders to build a bi-partisan congressional solution to Internet openness – one that reasonably ensures consumer protection, anti-discrimination, robust competition and healthy broadband deployment to serve all Americans, no matter where they live.
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.