Miss. Senator Has ‘Serious Concerns’ Over FCC Map That Will Determine Allocation of $4.53B in Rural Broadband Funding

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today asked Mississippi residents for feedback on an initial wireless coverage map recently distributed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that will determine eligibility for up to $4.53 billion in Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) funding. This funding goes to rural areas that lack access to consistent and reliable mobile broadband service. The map shows that only 2% of the state does not have access to a consistent, reliable 4G LTE connection from at least one carrier. That means 98% of Mississippi will be ineligible for federal support through MF-II funding.

“Spend some time in the rural parts of our state, and you will see that many Mississippi residents lack access to a consistent and reliable mobile broadband connection,” Wicker said. “I am interested in hearing from my constituents about their experiences with wireless internet service and how the FCC’s Mobility Fund might help their area. It is imperative for the FCC to get this map right, targeting support to the people and communities who need it most.”

In March, Wicker led a bipartisan group of Senators who expressed “serious concerns” over the coverage map’s apparent inaccuracies. The Senator hopes to collect feedback from Mississippians as mobile carriers, communities, and other interested parties begin the arduous task of testing the accuracy of the FCC’s coverage maps in what is known as the “challenge process.”

Under current FCC guidelines, the challenge process will last 150 days (or 5 months), ending in August. Once a challenge is submitted to the FCC, the challenged party will have 30 days to oppose the challenge. FCC staff will then adjudicate certified challenges and responses and develop a final map of eligible areas for MF-II support. Once a final map has been created, carriers will compete for available funding through a reverse auction process to deploy mobile voice and broadband coverage to rural, unserved areas.

Mississippi residents who would like to submit their comments on the FCC’s coverage map to Senator Wicker may do so by filling out theWireless Coverage Survey on Senator Wicker’s website, or by emailing Wireless@wicker.senate.gov with their name, address, and their comment.