The statement below may be attributed to Erin P. Fitzgerald, RWA’s Assistant Regulatory Counsel.

Arlington, VA – The Rural Wireless Association, Inc. (RWA) has long supported the ability of consumers to unlock their cellphones, and filed petitions to exempt handsets and other devices from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in this proceeding last fall. RWA applauds the Library of Congress’ decision to allow the unlocking of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices for three years – thereby protecting the ability of rural consumers to choose the wireless broadband provider that best meets their needs.

Small and rural wireless carriers lack the economies of scale and buying power enjoyed by national carriers, which often leaves them unable to offer the latest mobile devices to their customers. Ensuring that American consumers have the ability for another three years to legally unlock mobile phones and move them to rural networks encourages competition in the wireless marketplace. With this decision, rural consumers will continue to be able to pick their mobile service provider independently from the wireless device they desire to use.

About RWA – Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the Rural Wireless Association is a trade association representing rural wireless carriers who each serve fewer than 100,000 subscribers. RWA’s members have joined together to speed delivery of new, efficient and innovative telecommunications technologies to remote and underserved communities. For more information visit www.ruralwireless.org.

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