Dale Curtis



Washington, DC – The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) today filed comments at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in two important proceedings.  

In one proceeding, the FCC requested public input on how best to increase the utilization of airwaves in the 4.9 GHz band. Under current rules, only public safety entities are eligible for licenses in this band. Other entities may use this band if they enter into a “sharing arrangement” with a public safety licensee, but only for “operations in support of public safety.” More than 15 years after those rules were approved, this 50-megahertz block of spectrum remains seriously underutilized, with no more than 3.5 percent of potential public safety licensees using the band. 

Of the four new policy approaches put forward by the FCC, WISPA endorses the two-tiered sharing approach, with public safety users guaranteed access on a primary basis and commercial users on a secondary basis. WISPA believes that two-tiered sharing will best promote the FCC’s goals of encouraging greater use of the 4.9 GHz band, protecting public safety operations, encouraging a robust market for equipment and innovation, and closing the digital divide. 

“One of the primary challenges that WISPs face is access to sufficient spectrum,” said WISPA President Claude Aiken. “WISPs are already heavy users of the neighboring 5 GHz band, making the 4.9 GHz band an attractive option for fast, easy network upgrades that can bring affordable, high-speed broadband to more consumers, especially in under-served areas.” 

In the other proceeding, WISPA opposes the company Globalstar’s request that the FCC initiate an inquiry into whether Globalstar’s satellites are receiving interference from terrestrial users in the 5.1 GHz band. Although Globalstar made clear that WISPs are not the cause of any alleged interference, WISPA believes that Globalstar has not demonstrated that interference actually exists; and moreover, Globalstar’s proposed remedies could potentially make it much more difficult for WISPs to acquire equipment and use an important spectrum resource.
“We are pleased that our members are not the source of any interference issues, but we are concerned that Globalstar is asking the FCC for a broad set of restrictions that would harm our members,” said Aiken. “The FCC should deny the petition and remove the uncertainty associated with Globalstar’s request.”   

Media Inquiries:                                                             
Breyana Franklin, breyana@dalecurtiscommunications.com, 202-495-3700  

WISPA is a membership-driven trade association that promotes the development and advancement 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.

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