WISPA Says Reclassification Will Harm Small ISPs and the Communities They Serve

WISPA – Broadband Without Boundaries issued a filing to the FCC in which it noted that reclassification of current broadband rules could cause harm to ISPs and the communities that they service.

In a statement, the association noted that:

Twentieth-century utility-style rules are inapt for today’s dynamic, competitive and evolutionary broadband markets. In fact, the marketplace has thrived by virtue of their very absence – especially in hard-to-reach areas of the country, where legacy providers have retreated from the job. WISPs serve millions of Americans there. “Light-touch” regulation is key to this growth and vibrance, which could radically change with imposition of needless common carrier regulation on the ISP industry, especially for small rural providers of Internet access.

As an overarching principle, smaller providers lack “gatekeeper power” and do not have the incentive or market power to harm internet openness that is the premise for proposing Title II regulation. When looked at in combination with other regulatory mandates Congress has applied to broadband providers since 2021, it will undercut the Biden Administration’s efforts to invest billions of taxpayer dollars to deploy broadband service to unserved and underserved Americans. Imposing burdensome, “one-size-fits-all” regulations on smaller broadband providers is the very antithesis of promoting investment, innovation, competition and lower costs to consumers. The rules would thus undermine the important national policy prerogative of achieving universal service.

Quite simply, the Commission should refrain from moving forward with its proposed reclassification. That noted, if the FCC nonetheless proceeds, it must work to mitigate regulatory costs and burdens on small providers – the very players needed to bridge the digital divide and provide lasting, sustainable and affordable service in rural, under-resourced and Tribal communities across the country.

WISPA’s approximately 1000 members provide fixed broadband connectivity, and include equipment suppliers, support services and other industry partners and stakeholders. Our members provide broadband access to millions of residential and business customers in rural, urban, and Tribal areas across America.

A full copy of the filing can be viewed by clicking here.