SOURCE: Wireless Internet Service Providers Association

January 21, 2010 12:35 ET

WISPA Meets With FCC to Discuss the National Broadband Plan for Internet Access

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - January 21, 2010) - WISPA, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, met with FCC Staff on January 13 to discuss key elements of the upcoming National Broadband Plan. WISPA is the trade organization representing the interests of fixed wireless broadband service providers in the U.S. In many communities, fixed wireless ISPs (WISPs) are the only source of broadband Internet access for homes and small businesses. In many rural communities, no fixed broadband service of any kind is available today. WISPs are working to bridge this "digital divide" by building fixed wireless networks and making broadband available to all Americans. The FCC's National Broadband Plan will serve as a guide to provide "broadband for all" and will be delivered to Congress on March 17th.

Clean and Affordable Spectrum with Practical Operating Rules Needed

WISPA discussed the need for clean spectrum, "licensed-lite" operating rules, lower "middle-mile" costs and access to government towers, rooftops and utility poles. Clean spectrum -- wireless frequencies that are not shared with home WiFi devices, allows wireless broadband to be delivered without interference. "Licensed-lite" operating rules help WISPs access and use clean spectrum without having to spend billions of dollars buying spectrum in government auctions. Because many WISPs are small, community-based companies, access to clean spectrum must be affordable.

Affordable Middle-Mile Backhaul Costs

The high cost of connecting a rural community back to the Internet backbone in a larger city is a main reason that many small towns have no broadband Internet access today. These middle-mile "backhaul" Internet connections must run over either a fiber-optic cable network or over a microwave radio network. Both fiber and microwave networks are expensive to build and maintain. WISPA asked the FCC to help lower backhaul costs by recommending that they be allowed to use government radio towers and rooftops to build microwave networks. WISPs also need affordable access to utility poles to install fiber optic cable networks.

Richard Harnish, WISPA President, said, "We appreciated this opportunity to talk with the FCC. Everyone should be able to access broadband so they can do their banking from home or study and attend class from home or use the Internet to operate a home-based business. We believe that supporting rural economies and ending the rural 'brain drain' by helping young adults remain in their communities are compelling reasons to bring broadband service to all Americans. We look forward to seeing the FCC's National Broadband Plan on March 17th."

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Contact Information

  • Contact
    Forbes Mercy
    WISPA Director
    Email Contact
    PO Box 1582
    Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
    Ph: 509-307-7777


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