WISPA Comments on the Federal Communications Commission Progeny Decision

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The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) is extremely disappointed in the FCC’s decision and strongly believes that the FCC neglected compelling evidence in the record showing the extremely harmful effects that Progeny’s operations would cause to broadband and other services.

Wireless Internet Service Providers Association

WISPA

The FCC’s decision truly threatens the viability of not just broadband networks, but important life-safety communications like panic alerts, toll collection services and other wireless devices – devices that need to be properly and cooperatively tested.

Late Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted an order, FCC 13-78, approving Progeny LMS, LLC for nationwide licensed commercial operations in the 902-928 MHz band. Although the FCC’s decision contains some conditions designed to address potential interference to millions of consumers and industrial users, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) is extremely disappointed in the FCC’s decision and strongly believes that the FCC neglected compelling evidence in the record showing the extremely harmful effects that Progeny’s operations would cause to broadband and other services.

Wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) rely heavily on this band to deliver fixed broadband services to thousands of customers, many of whom do not have alternatives to receiving broadband services in their homes and businesses. The 900 MHz band is the “workhorse” spectrum that can overcome obstructions that block signals in other bands.

Last fall, WISPA and Progeny conducted joint tests to determine the extent to which Progeny’s high-power network would cause interference to low-power broadband devices. The tests conclusively showed that, on the two most popular equipment models, Progeny’s operation would cause a 50 percent reduction in throughput – an unacceptable result that would impair the ability of consumers to continue to receive broadband services in areas where Progeny would also operate. Many other parties representing a diverse set of life-safety, consumer and industrial devices have asked to test their devices and networks for interference, but Progeny has not cooperated in these requests.

Despite the test results and the lack of additional testing of other devices, the FCC’s order allows Progeny to deploy commercially nationwide. Though the FCC adopted some conditions on Progeny’s use of the spectrum, these conditions will not ensure interference-free operations of millions of devices that have been in use for years. One of the commitments WISPA obtained was a promise from Progeny that it would work with WISPs in rural markets to minimize the effects of interference.

“WISPA is very disappointed in the FCC’s decision. Though we take some solace in Progeny’s commitment to work with rural WISPs, we have a hard time understanding why the FCC concluded that a 50 percent loss in throughput is not unacceptable and why it would not want to develop the record further to determine whether other devices would suffer interference,” said Elizabeth Bowles, President of WISPA. “The FCC’s decision truly threatens the viability of not just broadband networks, but important life-safety communications like panic alerts, toll collection services and other wireless devices – devices that need to be properly and cooperatively tested. We think the FCC will regret not answering WISPA’s call for additional testing or more appropriate license conditions.”

About WISPA
WISPA is a membership-driven trade association that promotes the development, advancement and unity of the wireless Internet service provider industry. WISPA has over 700 members that support WISPA’s advocacy, education and other collaborative industry initiatives. For more information, visit http://www.wispa.org.

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Jack Unger
WISPA
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