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FCC Using Form 477 Data to Close the Mobile Broadband Gap in Rural America
Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced improved analysis of coverage data that will help the FCC realize its ambitious goal of universal broadband and advanced mobile coverage across the United States.
In order to achieve this goal, the FCC created the Mobility Fund as a part of the Connect America Fund. The Mobility Fund is a universal service support mechanism dedicated exclusively to mobile service. However, in order for the Mobility Fund to improve coverage in underserved wireless mobile service areas, the FCC needs detailed coverage data.
Largely due to access to more reliable data from provider-filed Forms 477, the FCC now has an improved methodology for analysis of coverage data. This improvement gives the FCC the ability to take the next steps toward closing the mobile broadband gap in rural America through Mobility Fund Phase II. These filings show mobile broadband and voice provider coverage areas. Using Form 477 data gives the FCC a significantly more detailed picture to provide more targeted universal service support for mobile services in areas where it is needed.
The data has revealed that approximately 3 million people, 575,000 square miles of area, and 750,000 miles in the U.S. that either have no 4G LTE coverage or only have 4G LTE available from a provider that is receiving universal service support. This data justifies the significant need for ongoing support of current aggregate funding levels for mobile broadband service.
As a part of its announcement, the FCC released the Form 477 data that shows mobile coverage as of December 31, 2015, together with a description of the FCC’s methodology, allowing the public to participate in the examination of the data. The FCC also released a report that provides detailed analysis of the Form 477 data. The FCC has indicated that it is ready to work with all interested parties on any anomalies or errors found in the data.
To review the Form 477 data, click here.
To read the FCC’s Working Toward Mobility Fund II report, click here.