Hassan joins Senate effort at reworking FCC mobile broadband map
Mobile Accuracy and Precision Broadband Act takes aim at ‘inaccurate’ map
U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH, has joined two of her Republican colleagues in introducing the Mobile Accuracy and Precision Broadband Act, aimed at improving the accuracy of the Federal Communications Commission’s mobile broadband coverage map with the goal of ensuring that federal resources are targeted to communities that don’t have access to reliable mobile broadband service.
Hassan, who is sponsoring the bill along with U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said, “Ensuring that all Granite Staters have access to broadband is critical to the success of our people and businesses in the 21st century economy. Unfortunately, the FCC’s coverage maps, which are used to prioritize broadband expansion efforts, are inaccurate for New Hampshire and many rural areas.” She said the bill “will improve the process by which Granite Staters can help identify errors in the FCC’s maps and help ensure that New Hampshire is appropriately represented in broadband expansion efforts."
The FCC’s map will be used to determine where Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) money will be directed over the next decade as part of its move to redirect wireless carrier subsidies. But the senators said the map misrepresents the existence of 4G LTE wireless broadband service in many areas based on on-the-ground experience. They say that, if left uncorrected, the map would exclude many areas that lack sufficient wireless broadband access from being eligible for MF-II funding, which is expected to be $4.53 billion over 10 years.
The legislation would also address concerns with the FCC’s challenge process for the presumptive eligibility map. The FCC has established a process whereby eligible entities, including state, local, and tribal governments, as well as wireless providers, can challenge and verify the FCC’s initial assessment. However, the time frame for the challenge process does not provide enough time for entities lacking sufficient personnel and resources to correct significant flaws in the current map, they said.