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WISPAPALOOZA Show Reopens in Las Vegas With Celebrations of Can-Do Broadband Connectivity

Many WISPs are no longer merely “wireless” internet service providers, but offer fiber-optics in a hybrid solution.

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Photo of a packed event center for breakfast at Bally's in Las Vegas as WISPAPALOOZA opened by Drew Clark

LAS VEGAS, October 12, 2021 –  The Wireless Industry Service Provider Association on Tuesday reopened its flagship trade show, WISPAPALOOZA, through Thursday at the Paris Hotel and Bally’s.

Not held since 2019 due to the pandemic, WISPAPALOOZA brings the community-based internet innovators ecosystem together at a single spot for education, trade show exhibits and ISP community engagement.

“This WISPAPALOOZA is a celebration on a number of levels,” said Claude Aiken, CEO of WISPA.  “Our community hasn’t gotten together at this scale for two years, and we’re just excited as heck to get back and see old friends.”

At Broadband Breakfast Live Online on October 6, 2021, Broadband Breakfast previewed the Wispapalooza trade show.

He also touted the WISP community for its service during pandemic. ”They kept people connected, safe and working.  And they did it because it was the right thing to do.”

Other analysts and attendees agreed. “Fixed wireless offers a much-needed substitute for addressing broadband need in underserved rural and suburban markets where other solutions are too cost-prohibitive or take too long to deploy,” said Mobile Experts principal analysis Kyung Mun. The consultancy predicts that globally, there are 80 million subscribers to fixed wireless (20% year-over-year growth) will take off to 200 million by 2026, or a compound annual growth rate of 70%.

WISPAPALOOZA is set to feature:

  • More than 90 panels filled with more than 200 internet access innovators, featuring updates on the state of technology, operational tips and practices, human resources, and the regulatory landscape, among others.
  • More than 160 exhibitors, demoing their best hardware, software, services and know-how.
  • A full 2,000 WISP industry attendees, enabling tons of networking opportunities.

WISPs are among the hardiest and those with the most can-do spirit in the communications industry. The group was loath to cancel their smaller trade show, WISPAmerica, in March 2020, and already held WISPAmerica earlier this year, in Grapevine, Texas.

In other words: Even the lingering spike of the Delta variant of COVID-19, which caused the National Association of Broadcasters and other groups to cancel their in-person shows, couldn’t keep WISP operators from gathering at this time.

Indeed, community-based access innovators have been integral to lifting the economy and helping Americans connect during the pandemic, delivering internet access to those in the farthest and toughest reaches of America.

Other wireless industry trends include hybrid networks, government funds

WISPAPALOOZA is also a celebration of the continual evolution of ISP technology and business models, too.

Over the course of two years, the landscape has changed significantly.  Many WISPs now have licensed spectrum, via the Citizens Broadband Radio Service auction completed last year.

Perhaps most significantly, many WISPs are no longer just “WISPs,” meaning that they are actively making use of fiber-optic technologies in their deployments.

While fixed wireless access has been the industry’s predominate delivery technology, today the majority of WISPs now employ other transmission modes, such as fiber to the home and business.  As an example, he cited the work on Nextlink: “They have proven the case that fixed-wireless and hybrid networks deliver” when fiber and wireless are harnessed together.

An additional significant change among the rank-and-file WISPA members: More and more WISPs are competing for and using public funding to grow their networks, while also reducing the digital divide.

“Our community-based providers use an all-the-above toolbox so all Americans get competitive, innovative and affordable internet access in their communities,” said Aiken.  He said that the exhibition floor will showcase WISPs ““resilience and continued evolution of an industry that’s future-proofing solutions for their customers and marketplace.”

WISPA is composed of about 1,000 members and provide broadband access to more than 4 million residential and business customers in the United States, often in exclusively rural areas.

Nextlink Internet voted “Operator of the Year” by colleagues, others recognized

Meanwhile, the Hudson Oaks, Texas, based Nextlink Internet, an internet service provider focused on rural communities across the central United States, announced that it has been named “Operator of the Year” by its colleagues in the ISP industry.

The company was recognized today at WISPAPALOOZA.

“Our team has been putting forth tremendous effort in expanding our service areas in 12 states across the country,” said Nextlink CEO Bill Baker. “We are also proud to be leading the way for our industry in terms of successful engagement in the Federal Communications Commission’s programs and in many public-private partnerships.”

WISPA also announced additional awards:

“Manufacturer of the Year” – Cambium Networks: “We are honored to be recognized as Manufacturer of the Year by WISPA network operators,” said Atul Bhatnagar, CEO. “Cambium Networks collaborates with WISPs to deliver customer-focused innovations in hardware, software and services to provide excellent quality of experience.”

“Product of the Year” – RF Elements: “Our third consecutive year winning the WISPA Product of the Year Award sends a very clear message about how game-changing our RF elements products really are,” said Juraj Taptic, Co-Founder and CEO.

“Service of the Year” – Aterlo Preseem: “We are humbled and honored to have been selected to receive this award for the third year running,” said Gerrit Nagelhout, CEO. “We are proud to serve the thriving WISP community by developing products that make their lives easier and help them grow.”

“Distributor of the Year” – ISP Supplies: “We celebrate the hard work of our employees and the close partnerships we enjoy with our customers,” said Steve Discher, Founder and CEO.

“Triumph Award” – All WISPs: “Never has robust and reliable connectivity been more essential than now,” noted Aiken of WISPA. “The industry’s selfless work during the pandemic with the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected pledge, the Emergency Broadband Benefit, and ensuring their networks were always up and running no matter the strain, for all.  Congrats, All WISPs, for your tremendous public service, unflagging spirit, and get it done attitude!”

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 4:46 p.m. ET to reflect additional awards, besides those of Nextlink Internet.

Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com and a nationally-respected telecommunications attorney at The CommLaw Group. He has closely tracked the trends in and mechanics of digital infrastructure for 20 years, and has helped fiber-based and fixed wireless providers navigate coverage, identify markets, broker infrastructure, and operate in the public right of way. The articles and posts on Broadband Breakfast and affiliated social media, including the BroadbandCensus Twitter feed, are not legal advice or legal services, do not constitute the creation of an attorney-client privilege, and represent the views of their respective authors.

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Broadband Breakfast on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 12 Noon ET — On The Ground at Wispapalooza

At our October 13, 2021, event, we’ll discuss trends toward hybrid technology and government grants by WISPs.

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UPDATE: We’re taking a one-week break from Broadband Breakfast Live Online. Join us next week for our regularly scheduled program!

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Join Broadband Breakfast Live Online for Wednesday, October 13, 2021, “On the Ground at Wispapalooza.” Broadband Breakfast will discuss trends toward hybrid technology and government grants by WISPs. During our October 6, 2021, event, Broadband Breakfast also previewed the trade show.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “On the Ground at Wispapalooza”

Wispapalooza 2021, which runs from October 11-October 14, 2021, is back, and it’s bigger than ever. The annual Las Vegas show of the Wireless Internet Service Provider industry, their partners and customers, brings together more than 2,000 WISP community attendees, more than 160 exhibitors displaying their products and services, and more than 90 panels with hundreds of experts helping the WISP ecosystem. Join Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark (also Of Counsel at the CommLaw Group and an telecom attorney to many WISP clients) as he interviews WISPS at Wispapalooza for a wide-ranging discussion of the issues and trends to expect from the wireless industry over the next year.

Panelists:

  • Guests have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast

Drew ClarkEditor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast, also serves as Of Counsel to The CommLaw Group. He has helped fiber-based and fixed wireless providers negotiate telecom leases and fiber IRUs, litigate to operate in the public right of way, and argue regulatory classifications before federal and state authorities. He has also worked with cities on structuring Public-Private Partnerships for better broadband access for their communities. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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Broadband Breakfast on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at 12 Noon ET — What’s Happening at Wispapalooza?

The Las Vegas trade show Wispapalooza 2021 is back from October 11-October 14, 2021, and it’s bigger than ever.

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Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the October 6, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Join Broadband Breakfast Live Online for Wednesday, October 13, 2021, “On the Ground at Wispapalooza.” Broadband Breakfast will discuss trends toward hybrid technology and government grants by WISPs. During our October 6, 2021, event, Broadband Breakfast also previewed the trade show.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “What’s Happening at Wispapalooza?”

Wispapalooza 2021, which runs from October 11-October 14, 2021, is back, and it’s bigger than ever. The annual Las Vegas show of the Wireless Internet Service Provider industry, their partners and customers, brings together more than 2,000 WISP community attendees, more than 160 exhibitors displaying their products and services, and more than 90 panels with hundreds of experts helping the WISP ecosystem. Join WISPA CEO Claude Aiken, local WISP CEO J.J. McGrath, and Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark (also Of Counsel at the CommLaw Group and an telecom attorney to many WISP clients), for a wide-ranging discussion of what to expect next week at Wispapalooza.

Panelists:

  • Claude Aiken, CEO, Wireless Internet Service Provider Association
  • J.J. McGrath, CEO of WISP TekWav
  • Other guests have been invited
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast

Drew ClarkEditor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast, also serves as Of Counsel to The CommLaw Group. He has helped fiber-based and fixed wireless providers negotiate telecom leases and fiber IRUs, litigate to operate in the public right of way, and argue regulatory classifications before federal and state authorities. He has also worked with cities on structuring Public-Private Partnerships for better broadband access for their communities. Drew brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband. He is also the President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

J.J. McGrath, CEO (that stands for “Chief Everything Officer”) of TekWav, has more than 20 years of experience in Information Technology. Because his dad was an engineer at Texas Instruments, J.J. learned a lot at a young age and decided to pursue a career in the industry. Since he has been in the business since 1992, J.J. has successfully navigated many changes and improvements in technology, so he can offer Texoma businesses the latest technology at a competitive price.

Claude Aiken is CEO of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), an association representing thousands of fixed wireless providers. In the decade prior, Aiken worked at the Federal Communications Commission as an advisor to Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, as well as in various staff attorney roles and in senior leadership positions in the Wireline Bureau and Office of General Counsel. He graduated from New York Law School as a John Marshall Harlan Scholar specializing in information and technology law.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

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WISP

Start Your Own ISP Lowers Barrier to Establishing Wireless Internet Service Providers

Start Your Own ISP founder discusses how WISP technology enables rural communities to access broadband.

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Start Your Own ISP's Graham Castleton

June 8, 2021–A company that helps wireless internet service providers get off the ground has been integral to getting communities connected during the pandemic.

Graham Castleton founded Start Your Own ISP to educate local communities on how to bring broadband to communities, as education has often been an overlooked aspect of the building process.

“Once the pandemic hit, it reinforced the broadband gap,” Castleton said at Connectivity Con 2021 on Friday. “People could not go to school or go to work. This ramped up interest from people in building something in their community.” Knowing your people need better broadband is half the battle. States and city governments come asking how to meet their constituents’ demands, he said.

A project in Taliaferro, Georgia exemplifies the approach SYOISP takes in bolstering connectivity. With a population of 1700, Taliaferro is one of the poorest, most rural counties in the state.

The Georgia Cyber Center partnered with Start Your Own ISP to figure out how to connect one of the hardest places to reach. In rural areas like Taliaferro, a combination of sparsely populated residences, an abundance of trees, and low economic development make it geographically and financially difficult to connect them to high-speed broadband. Their work establishes an effort to set up wireless access points in rural homes, whose research Graham states will be open access for other localities to replicate.

Castleton spoke about the ways in which WISPs solve connectivity gaps, especially in rural and remote areas. He said that in areas such as in Texas, he saw “people were coming from the town, in a parking lot trying to get Internet outside the library.”

As Graham says, “during the pandemic, schools were closed, but students [went] there, or to McDonald’s trying to get service.” His organization consults localities to add wireless hotspots in public areas such as libraries and main streets, where more users can access WiFi outside of school or work.

While challenges linger in improving access, cases such as that of Taliaferro and in Texas will serve as a model for how to reach those most underserved.

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