Washington

FCC Denies Request to Rescind Comment on Unserved Areas

Says wireless ISP request would frustrate goal of expediting list 1/24/2013 12:42:07 PM 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.

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