Today, Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley applauded the Friday announcement by the Federal Communications Commission into possible false coverage maps provided to the federal regulatory body concerning a pending process for the funding of cellular towers. Presley praised the investigation but said that the issues the FCC is seeing in the filings by the companies is the same issue many consumers face daily when they buy a cell phone. Presley says that plenty of proof exists to show that maps provided by some carriers to consumers at the point-of-sale are flawed at least and possibly intentionally misleading.
After the FCC’s coverage map for its funding auction was published earlier this year, Presley convened task forces in each of the thirty-three counties of North Mississippi, in essence deputizing the citizen-members to collect cell coverage data. Several months and tens of thousands of speed tests later, the PSC submitted their results on November 26th. Presley also personally communicated to FCC representatives the need for a more effective challenge process as the carriers’ data on average seemed to be so vastly misrepresented that even the army of volunteers could not properly document all the flaws. In fact, few states other than Mississippi even attempted the complicated challenge process. On Friday, the FCC announced that it is suspending the challenge process entirely so that it can investigate whether the carriers violated the FCC’s own mapping rules by submitting false data.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this investigation is past due. Tests run by our Task Force members, my staff, and many I ran myself proved to me that much of the data submitted by certain phone carriers is wrong. On a broader scale, this seriously reinforces my belief that the basic maps consumers are given when they go to buy a phone are also wrong! We plan to aid in this investigation any way possible,” Presley said. “I am immediately forwarding all documentation collected by my office of coverage gaps to the FCC to aid in their investigation.”