Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wireless Operators Protect Broadband Service Areas with New Online Tools

SAM Helps Cable Operators, Telephone Operating Companies, and Wireless Providers Speed Up Federal Filing for Existing Broadband Areas 05/13/2010 San Francisco - Members of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) are using a set of new online tools to help protect their broadband service territories from the threat of improper overbuilding under the federal broadband stimulus program.

“If the RUS does not know that your business exists, the chances of grant money being allocated to new competition are much higher,” said Rick Harnish, president of WISPA.  Rural Utilities Service (RUS), which operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is one of two federal agencies running the broadband stimulus program.

Monday, May 17th, at 2:00 PM (EDT), WISPA will host an online Webinar titled WISPA/Stimulating Broadband RUS Response Filing Webinar (free registration) on the critical subject of how rural operators can protect their territories with good data and timely filings with the government.

Operators have until May 23 to register their service areas with the RUS. 

This deadline stands in addition to Monday, May 10, when many incumbent cable operators, telephone operating companies, and wireless providers filed Service Provider Responses marking their service areas with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“If you don’t file, you don’t count,” said Peter Pratt, owner of PrattNetworks LLC, the Boston based telecom sector advisory firm that provides support programs for WISPA members and other incumbent operators.

“You need powerful database tools just to figure out who is filing for funds in your service area -- and where they are doing so.  Operators have to be able to prove where their footprints are.”

PrattNetworks LLC, in partnership with leading telecom data analysts, GIS specialists, and rural telecom funding consultants, has launched the Service Area Matrix (SAM) via the site  For a fee of $425 an operator can quickly and accurately see firms that are seeking federal funds to build in a particular area. The $425 fee covers a maximum of five counties; additional counties can be requested for an additional cost.

WISPA members and other incumbent providers can use this information to select where and how to register their Public Notice Filings with RUS by the May 23 deadline.  Pratt’s team can also conduct the filing work on an operator’s behalf.

Each county across the nation is matched in the SAM database product to the service areas for which federal funds have been filed. The number of service area filings ranges from a high of 28 in Yavapi County, Arizona, through 15 in Orangeburg, South Carolina, down to 1 filing in Weston, Wyoming. For all of these regions SAM will eliminate the countless frustrating hours of searching on the federal site, which many industry managers have been complaining about.

“The point is to grab the data from us, see who wants funds in your area, and file,” said Pratt, a 30-year telecom industry veteran and publisher of the news service

“SAM cuts down by scores if not hundreds of hours the time it takes to navigate the federal data.  We are proud to have supported a great group of WISPA members in the NTIA filing process.   We welcome calls from operators in the field today.”

For more information about SAM, please visit:

WISPA/Stimulating Broadband RUS Response Filing Webinar (free registration)

Web Analytics