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As Congress considers an infrastructure funding bill, wireless internet service providers (WISPs) are asking legislators not to be too aggressive in setting broadband speed targets. Doing so would delay broadband deployment and could be anti-competitive, more than 400 WISPs argue in a letter sent to key members of Congress Friday.

“[W]e are deeply concerned by proposals before Congress that openly call for fiber-only deployments by requiring 100/100 [Mbps] symmetrical speeds,” the letter organized by the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) says. 

“[A]rtifically constraining the technology our industry can deploy means fewer consumers served and longer timelines for deployment,” the letter continues. “And as the pandemic has shown us, connectivity delayed is connectivity denied.”

The signatories argue that asymmetrical network speeds are what consumers are buying and using now and are projected to continue to use in the future. 

“[W]e ensure the most consumers are served the most quickly if we match consumer usage with government policy,” the letter states.

The letter also argues that providing government funding to a competitor could mean the end to WISP community-based businesses.

“Good public policy encourages innovation [and] competition and protects your constituents,” the letter about the WISP speed target argues. “It supports small businesses, many in rural areas where job creation and economic development are desperately needed.”

Republicans and Democrats have agreed to allocate $65 billion toward broadband in the infrastructure investment legislation they are drafting. But details remain to be resolved.

Some proposals have called for target speeds as high as 1 Gbps symmetrical. Advocates argue that a 1 Gbps symmetrical fiber network would be the most future-proof and would not require an update for a long time.

While some WISPs claim to support gigabit speeds downstream, at least in some areas, upstream speeds are more limited, based on technology currently available today. Fixed wireless equipment supporting 100 Mbps asymmetrical speeds is available from multiple manufacturers, however, and represents a substantial improvement over the speeds that WISPs traditionally have been able to deploy.

According to the WISPs’ letter, WISPs now serve more than 7 million customers nationwide. 

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6 thoughts on “WISPs Warn Congress Against 100 Mbps Symmetrical Speed Target

  1. Of course this group will argue that rural Americans should once again take a back seat and that lower tier speeds are “good enough”. This is the EXACT reason that WISPs should not be allowed to continue to steal money by illegally bidding into areas where there is a fiber solution ready to deploy.

  2. Sorry WISP’s. Upgrade your technology, and if you are unable to do that, you have become obsolete. Even 100/100 is a joke. It should be a minimum 200/200 with an aim of 1000/1000 FTTP.

    They claim many people have Asymmetrical service, but it’s only because symmetrical service is not offered. You think I like my 1000/35 Cable connection? Nope. I need more upstream.. A lot more.

  3. A WISP should be an absolute last resort. My goal is always a physical connection. Build it once, build it right.

    1. The rural population of this country will not be served very well by any of the current providers. If we absolutely cant get fiber or cable lets hope that a service like Starlink can live up to the hype and provide great service.

  4. We don’t need the federal government funding fiber “bridges to nowhere” just because someone in Washington thinks they know what the rural marketplace needs for bandwidth. Nor do we need them to subsidize the high cost of fat cat fiber providers to over build their networks when much more economical wireless technologies exist that match real consumer demand …… as the letter states …. matching public policy with real consumer demand is the most prudent for all

  5. The government should make cable broadband prices way cheaper and force them to drop the data cap for good. I had Comcast 1,200/40 for $115 a month then they wanted to jack my monthly bill to $260 a month. The only other viable option for broadband for me is T-Mobile home internet unlimited data usage for $50 a month with auto pay and I am forced to switch to it because I can’t afford Comcast anymore. I’ve been with Comcast since there fastest speed was 1.5M/128k at the time I signed up.

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