WISPA Favors OTARD Update

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The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) supports the FCC’s proposal to update its Over-The-Air Reception Devices (OTARD) rule to help spur 5G deployment. The Commission proposed allowing broadband “hubs” – pizza box-sized small cells – on private property to serve groups of homes and businesses, helping align OTARD rules with how today’s wireless broadband networks are being built.

The OTARD rule was adopted to address a previous use of technology that relied on larger antennas spread over greater distances. 

It was eventually extended to cover other antennas that “receive or transmit fixed wireless signals.” But the rule hasn’t kept up with technology. Hub sites, which are integral to today’s fixed wireless broadband systems by leveraging vertical infrastructure closer to the consumer, are not covered.  

WISPA supports the agency’s proposal to eliminate the restriction that excludes hub and relay antennas from the OTARD rule. WISPA further urged the Commission to update the rule to apply to all fixed wireless transmitters and receivers, regardless of whether the equipment is used for reception, transmission, or both, so long as the equipment meets existing size restrictions.

“Updating OTARD rules to allow small broadband hubs – small cells – to be placed on private property will have a supersized effect on rural broadband deployment,” stated WISPA President/CEO Claude Aiken. “It lowers barriers to siting fixed wireless facilities, enabling use of existing infrastructure free from onerous, local permitting requirements.”

June 5, 2019

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