Forbes Mercy Including Fixed Wireless in the USF Discussion

Expert Opinion, Fiber, Mobile Broadband, Universal Service, Wireless, WISP October 25th, 2011

, Deputy Editor, BroadbandBreakfast.com

WASHINGTON, DC October 24, 2011 -

Forbes Mercy, President of Washington Broadband Inc and WISPA VP/ Legislative Chair shared some thoughts and comments with BroadbandBreakfast.com after our panel on “Bringing Broadband Infrastructure to Rural Areas: Where is the Progress?”

You can watch the video of the panel or check out Broadband Breakfast’s summary below:

http://broadbandbreakfast.com/2011/10/broadband-infrastructure-to-rural-areas-is-on-the-move-at-the-broadband-breakfast-club/

“Our first goal was to remind those attending that Fixed Wireless is the often forgotten delivery method of Internet to more rural areas than any other solution of high speed Internet.  Many of our providers, all small business owners first introduced the Internet to their communities.  There are over 2000 Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP’s) servicing more than 2 million customers throughout all 50 states.  We are represented by

the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA).

WISP’s ignore the corporate density matrix used by major carriers who seek 1000-3000 homes per square mile often going as low as 10 to 20% of the statewide households per square mile.  WISPA has worked to use NTIA data to provide a visual map of 21 states to date showing in some cases such as Texas that 75% of the area with homes as few as 10.48 per square miles were being served exclusively by Fixed Wireless Broadband Providers. The use of this data will provide clarity and credibility in preventing federally funded aid to competitors in the form of grants or USF when an existing provider is already incumbent.

WISP’s have speeds in excess of the National Broadband Plan in most cases and should not be discounted when counting underserved or unserved areas because we are not corporate giants.

Spectrum is being sought by mobile and fixed wireless providers. Mobile equipment is over 100 times more expensive than fixed and thus fixed can be deployed much more quickly in rural areas with a faster Return on Investment which leads to lower monthly costs and deeper expansion into rural areas.  Using a narrower low power band it is more
efficient to allow contiguous space to the Fixed providers who are already deployed in many of the areas currently considered unserved.”

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