Washington, D.C., December 21, 2016 – The following statement may be attributed to Carri Bennet, the Rural Wireless Association’s (RWA) General Counsel:
RWA supported the Commission’s investigation into issues surrounding wireless network resiliency, but the Association is disappointed that the Commission has missed yet another opportunity to resolve significant roaming issues between the nation’s largest and smallest mobile wireless carriers. Nationwide carriers’ unwillingness to enter into functional bilateral roaming agreements with rural wireless carriers hinders network resiliency and imperils public safety in rural areas in the event of an emergency. While the Commission recognizes these concerns, it chose only to “encourage” stakeholders to voluntarily address these issues. Rural carriers do not have the market power to force nationwide carriers to allow the nationwide carriers’ subscribers to access rural carriers’ networks. In the end, it is the urban consumer that is harmed by the FCC’s failure to step in and help out.