WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan, a member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen released the following statements today in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) investigation into whether any major carriers violated the Mobility Fund Phase II reverse auction’s mapping rules and submitted incorrect broadband coverage maps to the FCC. The FCC’s coverage maps determine areas that are eligible for federal funds targeted to underserved communities that do not have access to reliable mobile broadband service, and the FCC’s decision to open an investigation follows Senator Hassan’s successful call for the FCC to extend the deadline to challenge its broadband coverage maps.
“I am pleased that the FCC has begun to take the additional steps necessary to address their flawed maps by opening up an investigation into the integrity of the data submitted by major carriers,” Senator Hassan said. “It is clear from on-the-ground experience – including first-hand experience shared with my office and the FCC by Granite Staters – that the current maps do not reflect the reality of inadequate coverage that many Granite Staters have to live with every day. I will continue pushing the FCC to ensure that all Granite Staters and Americans in underserved areas are appropriately prioritized in broadband expansion efforts so that they can better compete in the 21st century economy.”
“Access to wireless broadband is essential for the economic development of rural communities in New Hampshire,” Senator Shaheen said. “We need to ensure that all efforts to expand broadband access do not leave these communities behind. I am pleased that the FCC will investigate the data provided by wireless carriers so that Granite State families and small businesses will benefit from this opportunity. My office has worked with stakeholders across New Hampshire throughout this process, and I will continue to push for additional resources to expand rural broadband across the state.”
Mobility Fund Phase II will provide up to $4.53 billion in support for rural wireless broadband expansion across the country over the next 10 years.
In May, Senator Hassan led a bipartisan group of 30 Senators in a letter to the FCC asking that they extend the challenge process for the map of eligible areas for Mobility Fund Phase II support. Earlier this year, Senator Hassan also introduced a bipartisan bill that would help improve the accuracy of the FCC mobile broadband coverage map and ensure that federal resources are targeted to unserved communities that do not have access to reliable mobile broadband service.