WISPA and Broadband Access Coalition Agree: Expanding Shared Use of C-Band Spectrum Will Address Digital Divide
PRESS RELEASE & FCC FILING
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Washington, DC – Members of the Broadband Access Coalition – a large and diverse group of tech companies, broadband ISPs, and non-profit public policy groups, including the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) as a founding member – today submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on its proposal to expand the use of mid-band spectrum in the C-Band (3.7-4.2 GHz).
In July, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) identifying new opportunities for more intensive terrestrial use in the C-Band. The NPRM asked for comment on expanding fixed, point-to-multipoint use in the band on a shared basis with satellite earth stations. The NPRM also asked for comment on service and technical rules that would enable efficient use by a variety of new services in the band.
In today’s comments, the Coalition applauded the FCC for recognizing the potential of this band to deliver more high-speed broadband services to unserved rural areas, as well as the role that fixed wireless can play in providing that service.
“We applaud the FCC for understanding that 500 megahertz of spectrum in the C-Band presents a tremendous opportunity to close the digital divide,” said WISPA President Claude Aiken. “Making 300 megahertz available for licensed, point-to-multipoint wireless service would enable hundreds of WISPs to take their existing networks and services to the next level, meeting consumer appetite for more bandwidth and gigabit speeds, all to ensure that rural Americans have the same online opportunities as their urban peers. We are confident that the FCC, with the cooperation of stakeholders, can develop protection and coordination criteria that will enable efficient spectrum-sharing in the C-Band.”
WISP networks can be built and upgraded faster and at a fraction of the cost of those based on DSL, fiber and cable technologies, making WISPs a major part of the solution to the rural broadband gap, Aiken said. “Access to this spectrum on terms that make sense for these businesses is critical to the future of rural broadband,” Aiken added.
One year ago, the Broadband Access Coalition, including WISPA and more than 30 service providers, equipment vendors, trade associations, and advocacy groups, filed a petition for rulemaking that called for a new, licensed, fixed point-to-multipoint wireless service in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band. The coalition’s proposal would enable gigabit and near-gigabit broadband service in rural and underserved areas; promote competition in all areas among various broadband technologies and licensees; and protect incumbents from harmful interference. Hundreds of favorable comments were received on the coalition petition.
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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