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'Intentional' Should Be in Definition of Digital Discrimination, Say Wireless ISPs

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(Image credit: Andrew Brookes via Getty Images)

Fixed wireless internet service providers represented by WISPA are telling the FCC that intention to discriminate should undergird any rules meant to prohibit digital access inequity based on race, ethnicity, income, religion, color, or national origin. It also says rules should be tech-flexible.

That came in comments on the FCC's inquiry into its legislative mandate to come up with rules that promote digital equity by eliminating discrimination in broadband deployment and access.

WISPA told the FCC it needed to avoid "creating inadvertent consequences and additional market entry barriers or barriers to growth for small providers," like punishing inadvertent inequity. "The Commission should require proof of intent to discriminate based on the six listed characteristics in the Infrastructure Act, in addition to its consideration of the totality of the circumstances," it said in comments filed Monday (May 16).

Also: AT&T: Digital Equity Needs Subsidies, Not Unfunded Mandates

WISPA said the FCC, in trying to define and identify digital discrimination, needs to take into account the significant differences among technologies used to deploy high speed broadband. The Biden Administration favors fiber but has signaled it is open to other technologies, including fixed wireless, so long as it can deliver high speeds at low cost.

The association also put in a plug for defining exclusive rooftop access agreements in multiple tenant environments (MTEs) as discrimination. ■

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.