Policy

FCC Denies Request to Rescind Comment on Unserved Areas

Commission Says Wireless ISP Request Would Frustrate Goal of Expediting List 1/24/2013 9:51 AM Eastern

The FCC has dismissed a request by wireless ISPs that it rescind its notice seeking comment on a list of census blocks in price cap territories that are unserved by fixed broadband, a list based on the FCC's National Broadband Map.

Cable operators want the opportunity to weigh in and correct what they see as inaccuracies in the map that show served areas to be unserved.

Areas identified as unserved will be eligible for Universal Service Fund subsidies for competing broadband providers, including wireless, which cable ops don't want to be used to overbuild their existing wired service.

The FCC said that the request from the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) was not "ripe" for a decision because the notice was not a final action, but instead a request for info that could inform that final action, which is the dispensation of more broadband subsidy money as the FCC migrates traditional phone subsidies to broadband.

The commission also denied a request by WISPA to extend the deadline for comment on the list until after the commission did take final action on the next round of subsidy, pointing out that the broadband map will likely be updated by then. But the FCC wants an updated census block list ready soon after it voted the final order and "waiting until final rules are adopted to establish a comment cycle to update the most recent map available at that time would frustrate this goal," the FCC said.

September