FCC report says broadband coverage maps are wrong in WV

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Washington, D.C. (WOWK) – A report by the Federal Communication Commission shows broadband coverage maps are flawed.

The FCC Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) Coverage Map Investigation Report was released Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

The investigation was launched last December after concerns were raised during a preliminary review of the data submitted during the MF-II Challenge Process. The report shows that the FCC’s map, created by using carrier-provided data, overstated mobile broadband coverage across West Virginia. The program was put on hold last year following reports that one or more major carriers submitted incorrect coverage maps.

The FCC report states, “Through the investigation, staff discovered that the MF-II coverage maps submitted by Verizon, U.S. Cellular, and T-Mobile likely overstated each provider’s actual coverage and did not reflect on-the-ground performance in many instances. Only 62.3% of staff drive tests achieved at least the minimum download speed predicted by the coverage maps—with U.S. Cellular achieving that speed in only 45.0% of such tests, T-Mobile in 63.2% of tests, and Verizon in 64.3% of tests.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, who was the only member of Congress to formally participate in the MF-II Challenge Process, said the findings will help accurately bring wireless service to more areas of West Virginia.

“I look forward to learning more about this newly announced 5G Fund and hope that it will build on the successes of the MF-II process. At a minimum, it should include a process to confirm the accuracy of the eligibility maps before billions of dollars go out the door, and it should include a terrain factor to ensure that the hardest to serve places can compete for this limited funding,” said Senator Manchin.

In addition to Senator Manchin, 11 other organizations in West Virginia formally participated in the MF-II Challenge Process, including: Lewis County, the Kanawha County Commission, the Wyoming County Commission, Monroe County, Summers County, the Region I Planning and Development Council, the Hampshire County Commission, the Tyler County Development Authority, the Morgan County Commission, the Preston County Economic Development Authority, and the West Virginia Office of GIS Coordination.

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