Advertisement

The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) is adding its voice to the fight against efforts to turn CBRS into a “5G-only” band.

In comments filed with the FCC this week, WISPA called such proposals “ill-conceived,” “destructive,” and “self-serving.” The changes requested by the aforementioned parties, WISPA argued, would “create an exclusive and permanent band for large carriers at the exclusion of others.” Such a shift would also “delay deployment of fixed broadband service” to some of the 23 million rural Americans still waiting for 25 Mbps benchmark service if WISPs are forced off the band.

“The Commission should refuse the mobile industry’s request to substitute a single 5G business model for a host of others that the marketplace may choose and at the expense of consumers that have ‘no G’ service in their homes today,” WISPA wrote, adding CTIA and T-Mobile failed to assess “the economic and human impact of foreclosing private networks, Internet of Things, neutral host networks, and other innovative uses.”

As previously noted on Wireless Week, CTIA pressed the FCC last month to lengthen priority access license terms on the 3.5 GHz band and modify the license areas to consist of traditional Partial Economic areas rather than census tracts. T-Mobile took things a step further, adding on a request to make all 150 MHz of spectrum in each market open to priority access licensing rather than maintaining the current limit of 70 MHz of PAL per market. Without these changes, T-Mobile claimed investment in the band would be limited.

“It is clear that the proposals from CTIA and T-Mobile would put the CBRS band out of reach for anyone other than large carriers,” Mark Radabaugh, chairman of WISPA’s FCC Committee, said. “Shifting to larger geographic areas for Priority Access Licenses will exacerbate and perpetuate today’s last-mile problem – large mobile carriers will acquire spectrum covering large geographic areas, but only deploy in the portions of those areas where demand and density satisfy their business models. What rural America needs is licensed spectrum that entrepreneurial companies can acquire and deploy in to connect the unconnected.”

WISPA isn’t the only one asking the FCC to preserve the existing rules. Advocacy groups including New America’s Open Technology Institute; Next Century Cities; Center for Rural Strategies; the American Library Association; the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition; and Public Knowledge also balked at the proposals. More on that here.

Advertisement
Advertisement