WISPA Urges FCC to Optimize Spectrum for Fixed Broadband Access

Mt. Vernon, IL (PRWEB) January 28, 2013

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), a membership organization that promotes the development, advancement and unity of the wireless Internet service provider industry, filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday, January 25, 2013, urging them to optimize spectrum, thus enabling affordable rural fixed broadband access.

In comments filed with the FCC on Friday, WISPA advocated rules and practices that will bring broadband service to the millions of Americans that do not currently receive broadband services in their homes and businesses. In a time when consumers are demanding more and more capacity, preserving access to contiguous blocks of unlicensed spectrum in regional markets will enable Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) to continue innovating and providing quality fixed broadband services to consumers in rural, unserved and underserved areas of the country.

The FCC is embarking on a multi-faceted and complex process by which TV broadcasters may sell their spectrum to mobile wireless carriers and others. This incentive auction, which is the first of its kind in the world, will result in the repacking of the TV bands. In recent years, the FCC has made the vacant TV channels available for unlicensed fixed broadband services. As the auction proceeds and the TV bands are repacked, the impact on the remaining unlicensed spectrum could be substantial.

Fortunately, as WISPA described in its comments, the FCC can take a number of steps to preserve the utility of the unlicensed spectrum. WISPAs recommendations include creating contiguous blocks of unlicensed spectrum where possible, expediting the relocation of incumbent services to other bands, and adjusting the amount of unlicensed spectrum reserved for wireless microphones. WISPAs comments also request the FCC to allow unlicensed operations to continue in auctioned areas until the licensee actually uses the licensed spectrum. This will enable WISPs to continue to provide service in rural areas that likely will not be built-out for several years.

Our comments are designed to add structure to a challenging process so that our customers, consumers and businesses in areas that lack broadband choice, can continue to receive affordable broadband service, said Elizabeth Bowles, President of WISPA. We know the FCC has a difficult task and we want to make sure that the unlicensed spectrum that remains can be a viable tool and a platform for innovation. Weve taken a measured and reasonable approach founded on the principle that unlicensed spectrum can and should be optimized for fixed broadband use.

WISPA is continuing to advocate for consumers in rural areas and our comments are an important step in the process, but not the last, said Richard Harnish, Executive Director of WISPA. We look forward to working with the FCC and other stakeholders in helping to craft fair rules that recognize and preserve the utility of unlicensed spectrum for broadband.


WISPA is a membership organization that promotes the development, advancement and unity of the wireless Internet service provider industry. WISPA has over 700 members consisting of wireless Internet service providers, municipal wireless internet providers, electric and telephone cooperative wireless Internet providers, equipment manufacturers, service vendors and other interested parties. For more information visit http://www.wispa.org.


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