In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission pledged up to $4.53 billion over 10 years to help bridge the lack of unsubsidized 4G,media outlet TechSpot reported. The digital divide in rural areas where LTE services are available. Some communications operators have proved dishonest in their self-assessment of coverage.
Carriers interested in receiving funding must submit an updated coverage map of their 4G LTE services to help identify areas that meet the Requirements for The Second Phase of the Mobile Fund Project (MF-II).
As part of the system of checks and balances, the parties can challenge the preliminary determination of eligibility and have the opportunity to respond. It was at this stage that some Parties raised concerns about the accuracy of the maps submitted by the providers. As it turns out, their suspicions continue.
After investigation, staff determined that the MF-II coverage submitted by T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon “may have exaggerated the actual coverage of each provider and in many cases did not reflect actual performance.” “In fact, only 62.3 percent of employee road tests reached the minimum download speed predicted by the overlay chart. In fixed tests, less than half of the test positions (20 out of 42) reached the minimum speed.
The Rural Broadband Auction Working Group noted that exaggerating 4G broadband coverage could mislead the public and could lead to misallocation of funds, adding that “meaningful consequences must be addressed”.
In verizon’s case, staff said that, depending on the circumstances, no enforcement measures should be taken.
The FCC’s full 66-page report on the investigation can be found here. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who briefly mentioned the investigation in a press release about 5G funds, praised employees for “working hard after the investigation to produce the report.”