The FCC directed wireless industry representatives who believe its broadband coverage map overstates coverage, to challenge their map and retain eligibility to participate in the upcoming Connect America Fund II auction, Inside Towersreported. The latest to do so, is a coalition of RF engineers who claim that Verizon has overstated its coverage in certain areas, to the agency.
Panhandle Telecommunication Systems, Inc., an Oklahoma rural wireless carrier, studied Verizon’s local coverage using publicly available data, including “using specific cell site locations, observational estimates of radio height and antenna placement on towers, 700 MHz spectrum, and service that reflects the customer experience,” it says in a filing.
Panhandle is part of the coalition that includes 4G Unwired, Monte R. Lee & Co. (MRL) and CT&T. “Using publicly available information, and with the aid of a newer modeling tool and the FCC-adopted 5 Mbps downlink standard, MRL determined that Verizon’s coverage area should be approximately 6806.49 square kilometers – nearly half of the LTE coverage area Verizon publicly claims to serve,” in the Panhandle area, says the coalition.
NTIA is now helping the FCC update the map and determining what information it can pull from other government agencies to supplement carrier information. Part of the problem, NTIA has told Congress, is carriers were not required to provide standardized coverage information, leading providers to submit different coverage data in various formats.