FCC Proposes to Release MF-II 4G LTE Coverage Maps

On February 12, 2020, the Commission released a Public Notice (“Notice”) announcing that the Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force (“Task Force”), along with the Office of Economics and Analytics, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and the Wireline Competition Bureau, proposes to publicly release carrier-specific 4G LTE coverage maps derived from Mobility Fund Phase II (“MF-II”) coverage data, submitted pursuant to the MF-II Challenge Process Order (“Order”) (GN Docket No. 19-367).

The Order required mobile providers to submit 4G LTE coverage data in a one-time data collection to assess mobile wireless coverage. 48 mobile service providers filed the required data, with an additional five providers filing certifications that they did not provide 4G LTE service meeting the specifications of the data collection. Based on this coverage data, Commission staff generated an initial map of areas presumptively eligible for MF-II support, and provided this information to challengers during the challenge process.

The Task Force now proposes to release the coverage maps showing the 4G LTE coverage data of each of the 48 mobile service providers that filed data in response to the Order. The maps would specifically show coverage data aggregated across spectrum bands and would only display the 4G LTE coverage as reported in the MF-II collection, rather than the providers’ complete mobile broadband coverage or other information. The Commission asserts that releasing this data will benefit the public and improve ongoing proceedings, and would not competitively harm carriers as the data is now outdated and is not commercially sensitive.

Parties that submitted MF-II data have until February 27, 2020 to file objections to the release of their own data. Objections must explain why releasing the data will reveal information that is not already public and detail how the release will harm the parties competitively. Parties supporting the public release of this data may file comments as well. If the Commission receives no objections, it will publicly release the data on March 2, 2020.

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