FCC Seeks Comment On RWA MF-II Challenge Process AFR

Updated: Apr 27, 2018

On March 29, 2018, the Rural Wireless Association (“RWA”) filed an Application for Review and Request for Extension of the Mobility Fund Phase II (“MF-II”) challenge process, as outlined in the Challenge Process Public Notice (“Challenge Notice”). RWA argues the challenge process should be reviewed and amended to use square miles instead of kilometers, and requests that the challenge window be extended to close 150 days after the Commission reviews its Application for Review.

In the Application for Review, RWA seeks review of the Wireline Competition Bureau’s and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s (“Bureaus”) decision in the Challenge Notice to establish a one kilometer grid cell size and one quarter kilometer “buffer” for assessing challenges to areas deemed ineligible for MFII support. RWA argues that this decision conflicts with Commission policy for the following reasons:

  • The action conflicts with established policy that speed test parameters “strike the correct balance between the benefits of increased accuracy, and the harms of burdens on small carriers” and “accurately reflect consumer experience in the challenged area,” and the Bureaus should modify such parameters to be based on miles rather than kilometers.
  • The measuring standard will not result in accurate mapping data, and the Bureaus’ finding otherwise is an erroneous finding of material fact. Specifically, the finding that a one km grid size will result in more accurate mapping is unsupported and contradicted by record evidence, and the findings that a ¼ km buffer radius will result in more accurate mapping and will not impose undue burdens are unsupported and contradicted by record evidence.
  • The Challenge Notice violated the Administrative Procedure Act by ignoring and failing to address important record evidence that the grid cell and buffer radius will lead to inaccurate mapping data, excessive measurements and an “insurmountable burden,” constituting prejudicial procedural error.
  • The Commission should modify the adopted parameters to use a one square mile grid cell and a one quarter mile buffer radius.

In the Request for Extension, RWA requests that the challenge window established in the Challenge Notice be extended to allow for the FCC to rule on the above Application for Review. The current window is set at 150-days; RWA is not requesting to delay the opening of the challenge window, but rather that the window close 150 days after the Commission rules on RWA’s Application for Review instead of 150 days from when the window opens on March 29, 2018. RWA argues that the extension should be granted because it will give the FCC “an opportunity to correct a significant flaw” while ensuring small carriers will have sufficient time to collect the required data for challenges.

Pursuant to an April 4, 2018 Public Notice, the following dates have been established for filing oppositions and replies:

Oppositions are due April 27, 2018.

Replies to oppositions are due May 7, 2018.

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