July 10, 2012 12:06 ET

WISPA Opposes New Federal Subsidies for CenturyLink

COTTONWOOD, CA--(Marketwire - Jul 10, 2012) -  The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) opposes an FCC waiver request filed by CenturyLink that, if approved, would entitle CenturyLink to federal subsidies from the Connect America Fund for broadband deployment in areas already served by Wireless Internet Service Providers ("WISPs"). 

Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers ("ILECS") have received massive government subsidies to build and maintain wireline networks for voice service in rural areas, yet millions of Americans lack access to broadband. CenturyLink claims that failure to grant its waiver request would "deprive tens of thousands of households the opportunity to order quality broadband services," but the federally-funded National Broadband Map shows that many of these areas are serviced by WISPs that already offer broadband services.

It is in consumers' best interests for CenturyLink to seek Connect America Fund support for areas that truly need broadband, rather than try to gain subsidies for markets that are already served. WISPs have met the needs of unserved and underserved communities on the National Broadband Map by delivering much-needed broadband services -- often at lower prices and higher speeds than CenturyLink's plans. 

"Fixed wireless providers are serving many areas that no other provider will. We do this because it is the best thing for the customers who live in those areas. The vast majority of these buildouts were done with no government funding whatsoever," said WISPA President Elizabeth Bowles. "CenturyLink is doing this so they can get subsidies in areas where there is already service -- areas where they know there is a market because WISPs built it without federal support. They do this rather than build at their own expense. Any government funds for broadband should be used as they were intended, which is to build in areas that are truly unserved."

Fixed wireless technology is evolving rapidly and represents the most cost-effective way to deploy broadband services in unserved and underserved areas. 

About WISPA: Founded in 2004, WISPA is a trade association of more than 600 WISPs, vendors and others dedicated to promoting, improving and expanding fixed wireless broadband service nationwide. WISPs serve more than three million residential and business customers and operate in every state using primarily unlicensed spectrum.


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