As many of you know by now, I was recently elected as the President of WISPA for the coming year. I would like to establish a open discourse with the membership to help guide our industry and WISPA through the challenges that we face in the coming year. I would like to let you all know my opinions on various issues and invite comments and cooperation throughout our industry and others. This email is long but I feel it is worth reading, commenting on and encourage participation in WISPA from it's contents.
WISPA is growing very quickly at this very moment! With the gradual decline of Part-15, WISPA seems to be benefiting from increased membership on a daily basis. Why is this? Our founding board decided in 2003 that we needed a professionally run association that was owned by the members in the wireless Internet industry and run by a board elected by our constituents on an annual basis. Our founding board recognized that our association needed support and influence from the members to grow and become a major contributor in our industry's efforts before the FCC, Federal, State and Local Governments. We believe an association should not be run by dictatorship. We established our bylaws to build an open platform which would invite input from all segments of our industry yet still be controlled by WISPs. Over the past several years, we have had a steady slow growth in membership and we have really surged forward beginning in the fall of 2007 when we had a very successful campaign at ISPCON in San Jose. I would like to recognize JC Utter (Imagestream <http://www.imagestream.com/> ) and Peter Radizeski (4isps.com <http://www.4isps.com/> ) for their hard work in building a very nice booth for WISPA which has helped market our services. This booth and the efforts of many volunteers who spent time working in the booth, brought in at least ten new vendor members and 20 principal members last fall. We duplicated this effort at the Chicago ISPCON and even had our own "Powered by WISPA" tract of nine educational sessions. We also held a WISPA reception which was sponsored by Imagestream and Powercode <http://www.powercode.com/> and followed that with a Jam Session which was sponsored by Mikrotik <http://www.mikrotik.com/> . We would like to thank these vendor sponsors and we do hope that your relationship with WISPA has been beneficial to your businesses and to our membership. We would also like to thank the many vendor sponsors of the door prize raffle who contributed nearly $50,000 worth of merchandise to give away to the attendees that evening. We also can't forget to thank John Price and Alex Goldman of ISPCON <http://www.ispcon.com/> for their invitation to contribute to this show in various ways. I believe that one of the most important challenges that we need to accomplish in the next six months is to establish an Executive Director/Association Management position to manage the daily affairs of WISPA, stimulate growth and push our committees to perform their action items at a steady pace. As chairman of the Association Management committee, I am charging our committee members (of which we need more!) to develop a job description and then an RFP to fill this position. We need to get this done in the next 30 days. We also need to work on a budget to make sure our association can handle the cost of an Executive Director and decide how we are going to increase revenues to not diminish our lobbying funds used to hire attorneys, prepare comments to NPRM's and fund trips to Washington DC to establish credibility with the FCC and other governmental entities. To join the Association Management committee, please go to http://lists.wispa.org/mailman/listinfo/assocmgmt and join the list serv. We need help right away in this process, anyone who has experience with Association Management, Grants, Budgeting or has additional professional insight that will help is more than welcome. WISPA has been run by a totally volunteer board the last 4 years and often we find it is a challenge to keep up with our businesses, family and still keep the WISPA needs moving at a steady pace. We discussed adding a few more members to the board this year. The vote was very close and I will openly say that I was on the fence. I made my decision because I felt two more volunteer board members would not really help accomplish the ultimate goal of becoming a professionally run association. WISPA need a dedicated employee who deals with our needs on a daily basis, be it part time or full time. Therefore, I voted against adding any more board members and will push my agenda to hire an ED if the budget allows. I truly believe, based on comments of various vendor and principal members that we can fund this position in a multi-faceted revenue stimulation program. The key components of this plan as I see it are: . Reorganize the vendor dues structure and develop incentives for vendors to contribute more annually. . Reorganize the principal member dues structure based on subscriber counts or revenue. I believe we need members of all sizes and that the small companies may not always be able to contribute as much as larger companies with higher revenues. Therefore, this reorganization would need to be a tiered structure. . Hire a professional webpage designer with graphic talents to market WISPA in a brighter light. Also it should be designed to allow for advertisement sales. . Issue Press Releases regularly which would include member company news and WISPA achievements. . Have a fundraising campaign which will outline our needs to fund an Executive Director and ask our members for donations (above and beyond their normal dues) to assist in this effort. . Seek a grant to fund an executive director. I want to say that our current board seems to have new energy this year and I am looking forward to harnessing that energy so that we can accomplish many feats. It will take more volunteers to get all this work done. Please consider contributing a few hours each week so that we can achieve all of our goals, whether they are defined yet or not. We currently had a Promotions Committee, FCC Committee, Certification Committee, Wholesale Committee and I would like to develop a Policy and Goals Committee as soon as possible. Please send an email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] or myself if you can take on the responsibility to help our industry grow by contributing your time to one of these committees. We are currently in process of organizing a trip to the FCC to meet with commissioners in late July or early August. Jack Unger is the current FCC Committee chair and he is working with Steve Coran of Rini Coran <http://www.rinicoran.com/> to assist in this organization and making sure we get in front of as many commissioners and staff that we can during our short visit. One of the goals of this trip is to let the commissioners know that we feel we have a valid claim to use the Television Whitespaces channels to help deploy ubiquitous broadband coverage to rural areas which will include VoIP and Video services that we currently struggle with on our limited unlicensed spectrum today. Our industry needs more frequency in bands which will penetrate foliage and allow us to install a lower number of base stations to achieve the penetration needed for ubiquitous coverage. We are an industry full of very intelligent entrepreneurs who are locally based and want to provide their customers with the same tools that other hardline carriers can achieve. Our customers in the country deserve to have the same abilities that their municipal based neighbors have. We also need to do a better job discovering and reporting how many square miles we cover across the country and how many customers are using wireless broadband. This may mean that our membership may need to open up a bit and report these numbers confidentially to WISPA so that we can aggregate the numbers and give a clearer picture to the FCC. We need to establish credibility by showing that we actually know who and where we serve. I envision a nationwide coverage database showing where wireless providers have coverage. It would be wonderful if someone can step up and take this on as a project. I would like to see a potential customer log into the WISPA website and enter an address which will then return an answer of the current wireless providers in their area. I know this is achievable, we just need to get all of our data compiled and programmed to provide this service. It is also necessary for all WISPs to fill out the FCC form 477 semi-annually or the new form when it is done. We cannot expect the FCC to help our industry if we do not help them compile data in which to make their decisions. I am proud of what we have accomplished in the last four years. Our board members and committee members volunteer an enormous amount of time to assist all WISPs, whether they are members of WISPA or not. We will continue to add membership this year and I sincerely hope that more and more WISPs begin to understand the importance of contributing to the association which was designed to help them run their business and prosper. If you haven't joined WISPA yet, I encourage you to do so right away. We have some great ideas, we need more revenue to accomplish these feats and we need more volunteers willing to give time, abilities and knowledge to help our grass roots effort become a success and to maintain and grow our industry. If you are not a WISPA member yet, please go to http://signup.wispa.org and fill out the form. Dori will email an invoice and we will get you signed up for the members list (which includes vendor and principal members) and the [EMAIL PROTECTED] list which is only principal members who are operating Wireless Internet Providers. This list gives the WISPs a private forum to discuss issues without vendor participation. We also have a list for every state and for Canada. These lists can be signed up for at http://lists.wispa.org/mailman/listinfo/california or substitute california with the state of your choice, i.e. http://lists.wispa.org/mailman/listinfo/ohio. These lists are maintained so that local providers can interface with other WISPs in their state and with state and college officials to discuss legislative issues, interference, peering opportunities and more. These lists are unmoderated but used correctly can be beneficial in establishing your credibility on a more local front and with the state government. We invite state broadband coordinators to join these lists too. It would be great if one person in each state would step up as a leader and encourage other WISPs in that state and state officials to participate in these lists. Lastly, I would like to thank Chuck McGown for recently moving the Motorola list to WISPA. We encourage other vendors to do the same. WE want to be the primary communication solution for the WISP industry. It is time to reach out to Part-15, which I intend to do, to merge the two association efforts into one. Our industry does not need to be fragmented with some wisps aligning with WISPA and other aligning with Part-15. If Part-15 is doing things that attract membership, then we need to look at incorporating those same ideas into WISPA. I met Michael Anderson in 2000 at a Karlnet training. I have the utmost respect for what he has accomplished with Part-15. I do not always agree with everything he does, but that doesn't mean I don't respect what he does. I'm sure he feels the same about WISPA. It is time to negotiate a quazi-merger of sorts and insure that the WISP industry is taken care of to the best of our abilities. I am open to suggestions and comments on this message. I will post it to the website as well at President <http://www.wispa.org/?page_id=244> 's Message where comments can be made at the bottom of the post. Respectfully, Rick Harnish President WISPA -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- WISPA Wants You! Join today! http://signup.wispa.org/ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- WISPA Wireless List: email@example.com Subscribe/Unsubscribe: http://lists.wispa.org/mailman/listinfo/wireless Archives: http://lists.wispa.org/pipermail/wireless/