WIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein today wrote to Senate leaders in support of the bipartisan agreement to invest in U.S. broadband infrastructure. The full letter is below.
The Honorable Charles Schumer
Senate Majority Leader
S-230, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Republican Leader
S-221, The Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Leader Schumer and Leader McConnell:
Thank you for your commitment to expanding broadband to all communities across the United States. The pandemic underscored the importance of connectivity to every household and business. The bipartisan agreement has now positioned Congress with an historic opportunity to bring the benefits of broadband to those Americans who currently lack access.
The Wireless Infrastructure Association supports the bipartisan broadband infrastructure funding agreement because it adopts an all-of-the-above strategy that makes wireless eligible to compete. The agreement also provides explicit technological neutrality that does not favor one broadband technology over another. This flexibility combined with the focus on unserved areas makes the deal most likely to achieve Congress’ goal of ensuring all Americans have access to high-speed broadband.
Allowing wireless to participate will stretch scarce resources and ensure that all Americans finally have access to quality broadband service. We strongly support the priority identified in the agreement to connect unserved communities as quickly as possible, which I recommended in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee. Rural Americans need broadband now. Wireless networks generally get up and running the fastest of any technology.
Wireless is also cost effective. When considering barriers to deployment, including capital expenditures required to reach new subscribers, time to market, and physical limitations of deploying infrastructure across diverse geographies, wireless service that covers long distances can make more sense than a home-by-home approach in many areas. The average capital outlay per subscriber for fixed wireless is ten times lower. Further, wireless can reach across distant residences and rugged terrain where other options are far more costly and time consuming, if even possible.
Wireless broadband also has unique characteristics that advance other policy goals. Wireless offers mobility, which is essential in rural areas and for precision agriculture. Public safety relies on wireless to save lives. Wireless 5G is documented as one of the most effective tools to fight climate change. And wireless is resilient when disaster strikes.
Realizing these benefits and bridging the digital divide will take continued, dedicated efforts by the entire telecommunications industry and the federal government. The wireless industry stands ready to deliver. Thank you again for your consideration and leadership in ensuring that all communities have broadband access using all tools at our disposal.
President and CEO
Wireless Infrastructure Association
CC: Chair Maria Cantwell, Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
Ranking Member Roger Wicker, Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
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