The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) reached out to President-elect Donald Trump with a policy wish list, asking him – among other things – to encourage the repeal and replacement of the FCC’s Open Internet Order.
In its Jan. 11 letter, WISPA laid out its policy objectives before Trump, with asks including the rollback of net neutrality and the FCC’s recently imposed broadband privacy rules, revisions to federal laws regulating broadband providers on the basis of access technology, preemptive action against state laws that prevent municipal broadband deployments, promotion of spectrum sharing, and Universal Service Fund reform.
“Our industry is somewhat under-recognized but is one of the most dynamic in all of telecommunications. It is comprised of more than 3,000 mostly small- and medium-sized businesses that deliver high-quality broadband services to more than 4 million customers in all 50 states,” the letter reads. “Knowing your passions about helping U.S.-based businesses, creating American jobs, boosting rural communities, eliminating costly regulations, and unleashing the power of entrepreneurship, we are eager to work with you to encourage innovation, investment, and consumer choice in broadband services.”
According to WISPA, its policy objectives are based on four main pillars: modernizing the Communications Act to better reflect 21st Century communications technologies and business realities; eliminating FCC regulations that disproportionately burden small broadband providers with compliance costs and enforcement risks, which is said to “chill investment and innovation and raise costs to consumers”; gaining access to additional spectrum, including spectrum shared with governmental and other commercial users; and reforming broadband subsidy programs to expedite broadband deployments in under-served locations in a technology-neutral and cost-effective manner.
And WISPA isn’t alone in seeking some changes with the incoming administration. At least some of its requests – including USF reform, passage of the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act, and the elimination of the broadband privacy rules – have already been pushed by other industry groups.
Earlier this week Competitive Carriers Association president and CEO Steven Berry blasted the FCC’s inability to extend the small business exemption for the FCC’s enhanced transparency requirements and looked to relief from the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act. CCA has also, alongside other groups like the Rural Wireless Association, pushed for USF reform for some time.
Exactly how many of the desired changes will come to pass remains to be seen, though. For sure, the incoming Republican FCC majority has signaled it wants to do away with net neutrality and reclassification, but it may not be as easy as it seems to throw them on the scrap heap. More on that here.
Next month, Wireless Week will be taking a deeper dive into how FCC priorities and policy under Trump is developing in a webinar presentation featuring experts from CCA, Capitol Hill, and the FCC. You can sign up for that event here.
Filed Under: Industry regulations