NH senators praise FCC’s investigation of mobile broadband mapping
FCC email also encourages public input regarding broadband accessibility
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Following Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)’s call for the Federal Communications Commission to extend the deadline to challenge its broadband coverage maps, the FCC has now opened an investigation into whether any major carriers submitted incorrect broadband coverage maps.
The FCC did not disclose which carriers it is investigating, but a filing by the Rural Wireless Association on Dec. 10 notes the association’s “concerns about overstated coverage by Verizon and T-Mobile” and that in its own review, “the vast majority of test points showed non-qualifying 4G LTE coverage—or no 4G LTE coverage at all.”
Earlier this year, Sen. Maggie Hassan brought to light inaccuracies that would leave much of New Hampshire and other rural areas ineligible for federal funding.
Broadband coverage maps submitted by carriers to the FCC are used to determine areas that are eligible for federal funds targeted to underserved communities that do not have access to reliable mobile broadband service. Mobility Fund Phase II will provide up to $4.53 billion in support for rural wireless broadband expansion across the country over the next 10 years.
In response to the alleged inaccuracies, Sen. Hassan introduced the Mobile Accuracy and Precision Broadband Act, which would aim to improve the process by which locals can help identify errors in the FCC’s maps.
“I am pleased that the FCC has begun to take the additional steps necessary to address their flawed maps by opening up an investigation into the integrity of the data submitted by major carriers,” said Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, in a press release. “It is clear from on–the–ground experience – including first-hand experience shared with my office and the FCC by Granite Staters – that the current maps do not reflect the reality of inadequate coverage that many Granite Staters have to live with every day. I will continue pushing the FCC to ensure that all Granite Staters and Americans in underserved areas are appropriately prioritized in broadband expansion efforts so that they can better compete in the 21st century economy.”
“Access to wireless broadband is essential for the economic development of rural communities in New Hampshire,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). “We need to ensure that all efforts to expand broadband access do not leave these communities behind. I am pleased that the FCC will investigate the data provided by wireless carriers so that Granite State families and small businesses will benefit from this opportunity. My office has worked with stakeholders across New Hampshire throughout this process, and I will continue to push for additional resources to expand rural broadband across the state.”
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel also set up email@example.com to encourage public communication regarding facts, stories and difficulties in securing broadband.
“All collected data is meant to be used to show why consumer choice is important to the quality of service received and how the FCC could do more to improve broadband connections,” wrote Rosenworcel in a letter earlier this year.