Calling all wireless providers

Thanks to Ann Higgins for the heads up the FCC’s plan for a mobility fund. According to Telecompetitor

The NPRM [FCC’s notice of proposed rule making] seeks to provide funding to wireless carriers on a one-time basis to deliver “current-generation or better mobile wireless service” for areas that currently do not receive 3G. The reverse auction process would award funds to the carrier that requests the smallest amount of funding. As part of the NPRM the FCC also seeks to identify areas where 3G service is not available and seeks comment on whether to make support available to any unserved area or to target support only to limited areas. Comment is also sought on what minimum performance and coverage requirements should be required for any winning bidder.

The NPRM differs from what was originally proposed in the NBP in one important respect. Although the NBP only talked about supporting 3G service, the new proposal opens the door for a carrier to obtain funding for a 4G network. Verizon has argued that some unserved areas will likely move directly to 4G—and apparently the FCC found validity in that argument, although everyone doesn’t agree with the 4G provision.

The cost of the program is estimated at $100-300 million. Apparently the money comes indirectly from Verizon Wireless and Sprint. They have elected not to receive funding through the competitive eligible telecommunications carrier (CETC) program. CETC is sort of the wireless side of the Universal Service Funds. The National Broadband Plan proposes to phase out CETC and phase in the Mobility Fund. So it will be interesting to see what Verizon and Sprint do with the reverse auction. Will they step up or step back?

This entry was posted in FCC, Policy, Vendors, Wireless by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s