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Flawed FCC Broadband Coverage Maps Could Cost New Hampshire

Senator Hassan Has Been Leading Efforts to Fix Broadband Coverage Maps that Determine Which Areas Are Eligible for Federal Funding to Expand Broadband

In case you missed it, the Union Leader reported that the Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC) found that cell service coverage maps in the Lakes Region exaggerate coverage, which could prevent communities in New Hampshire from getting their fair share of federal funding to expand rural broadband. Senator Hassan has been leading efforts in the Senate to sound the alarm on this issue and work to fix the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) flawed broadband coverage maps that will determine which areas are eligible for billions of dollars in federal funding to expand broadband in rural areas.  

Click here for the full Union Leader story or see excerpts below:

Efforts to become eligible for federal support to advance high-speed broadband in rural areas has determined wireless telecommunication service availability by major carriers in central New Hampshire is overstated, according to the Lakes Region Planning Commission (LRPC).

In a Dec. 10 letter to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the state’s federal delegation, LRPC Executive Director Jeffrey Hayes said they have discovered that cell service coverage maps in the Lakes Region are wrong, exaggerate coverage and need to be updated by the Federal Communication Commission. The maps are used to derive which areas lack high-speed mobile broadband and would not be served without government support.

… The challenge process was designed to resolve disputes about areas that are presumed ineligible for a portion of $4.35 billion in Mobility Fund-II support over 10 years to providers in geographic areas lacking unsubsidized Fourth Generation Long-Term Evolution services.

… The Challenge process was extended by 90 days after a bipartisan group of 30 U.S. Senators., led by Roger Wicker, R-Miss. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., expressed concern about the accuracy of the FCC’s map of eligible areas for MF-II support and the “outsized role” that the process would play in determining eligibility for support.

Following FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s announcement of the extension, Hassan said she continues to have serious concerns about current FCC mapping that “Inaccurately shows that certain areas in New Hampshire have mobile broadband coverage when that is not the case on the ground.”

If New Hampshire is unable to qualify for a subsidy, Hassan said, it would further exacerbate the digital divide and deny fundamental economic and safety opportunities to rural communities.