Concerns from various portions of the wireless industry about inaccurate broadband mapping by federal regulators prompted the introduction of a bill to better pinpoint where mobile broadband exists — and where it doesn’t. TheMobile Accuracy and Precision Broadband Act was introduced Thursday by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Jerry Moran (D-KS). Themap determines eligibility for the FCC’s upcoming Mobility Fund II wireless subsidy auction. The auction will determine the recipients of billions of dollars in 4G LTE subsidies over 10 years.
The measure aims to reform the process to challenge the map. If left uncorrected, the map would exclude many areas that lack sufficient wireless broadband access from being eligible for MF-II funding, according to Wicker, Hassan and Moran. “The FCC should address Americans’ concerns and fix this inaccurate map,” stated Senator Wicker.
The FCC established a process so that eligible entities can challenge and verify the agency’s initial assessment. Among other changes, the bill would extend the challenge window by 90 days — to November 27.
The Competitive Carriers Association praised the measure. “Extending the challenge process window and requiring the FCC to publish monthly updates will provide carriers, as well as state, local, and Tribal governments, greater clarity and better opportunities to participate in the challenge process. This is a critical issue for CCA members, and the FCC must get it right,” said CCA President/CEO Steve Berry.