FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C.—February 4, 2009
As Congress crafts the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, WISPA, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, is urging Congress to help ensure that the new bill expands broadband Internet access to Americans in rural areas and to consumers with limited or no access to affordable broadband services.
In many communities, located in rural, suburban, and urban areas, consumers cannot access traditional wired broadband services. They live in areas too far from DSL and cable networks, with lower population densities, or encumbered by geographical barriers, that make the cost to wire these communities prohibitive. Using wireless technology, Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) provide Internet access service to approximately 2,000,000 consumers across the nation. Most WISPs are small companies based in the local communities they serve. Wireless technologies can offer "next generation" fiber-like speeds to maximize economic development and to meet the needs of underserved businesses and public venues.
In letters to key Congressional decision makers, WISPA asked Congress to target federal funds to rural, unserved and underserved areas. WISPA proposed that small Internet service providers – those with a track record of providing Internet access services to small and rural communities – be given priority for a meaningful portion of federal grant funds. WISPA recommended designating more areas as "rural" and "underserved" so that grant funds could better be dispensed to areas with the greatest need. WISPA also supported extension of 20-percent tax credits to entities pledging to offer higher data rates in rural, unserved, underserved and residential areas.
WISPA President Richard D. Harnish said "WISPs across the country are working to make their representatives in Washington aware that to truly revitalize the American economy, it's essential to provide assistance that really reaches consumers in rural America and those who have few, if any, choice in where they receive broadband services. Small, local wireless broadband providers already have the expertise and the experience to provide broadband Internet access to rural and hard-to-reach areas. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act must dedicate a meaningful portion of these new funds to better meeting the needs of consumers in rural, unserved and underserved areas."
WISPA * 866-317-2851 * www.wispa.org