SOURCE: Wireless Internet Service Providers Association

Wireless Internet Service Providers Association

April 29, 2011 20:31 ET

WISPA Announces Disaster Relief Fund, Sends Aid to Cullman, Alabama

BLUFFTON, IN--(Marketwire - Apr 29, 2011) - The Wireless Internet Server Providers Association today announced the WISPA Disaster Relief Fund.

"The WISP Community should be proud of their generosity to assist another company in their industry that was in need. But why shouldn't they be proud, these operators often invest their own money, to bring broadband service to neighbors and communities who would otherwise be unserved," said Rick Harnish, WISPA Executive Director.

Harnish said that the fund was inspired by the tornado in Cullman, Alabama. As the weather event was unfolding, Harnish went to the member directory map to see Jay Fuller of Cyber Broadband was directly in the tornado's path.

The Google Map feature is part of WISPA's ongoing effort to evangelize the role that fixed wireless broadband providers play in delivering critical internet services to rural areas that would otherwise do without. The map is now part of a disaster relief effort to the tornado damaged area.

"They're going to be without power for five days. People are driving to Tennessee just to get gasoline," Harnish said. "I went online and sent my prayers to fellow members, their families, and their employees in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia."

Donations from member WISPs enabled the association to ship the radio hardware and generators that CBB needs. WISPA member Paul McCall of PDMNet in Vero Beach, Florida said that he sent equipment immediately. "We did what we'd hope most people would do in this kind of situation. We experienced two hurricanes (Francis and Gene)."

McCall is one of many WISPA members, who responded to Harnish's call to mobilize assistance for this disaster-struck community. Today, PDMNet's website had an appropriate bible verse: "Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless," Psalm 10:12/NIV.

While power was down and the phone lines not working, the only communications method that worked was his Facebook page, which he accessed through his smartphone.

The WISPA Disaster Relief Fund will enable WISPs to remain operational in rural areas that need broadband the most and that have the fewest alternatives. When natural disasters occur, fixed wireless networks are the most resilient and the easiest to rebuild. The Fund will ensure that the work of rebuilding starts immediately, at the moment when it can do the most good.

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