Washington, D.C. – The Rural Wireless Association, Inc. (RWA) welcomes a commitment made today by Federal Communications (FCC or Commission) Chairman Ajit Pai to extend the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) challenge window by 90 days. RWA agrees with the Chairman that the FCC should exercise its discretion “to ensure that the challenge process is as robust as possible,” which is why it sought to correct serious flaws in the challenge process and requested a challenge window extension earlier this year.
RWA also submitted data to the Commission showing that it will take rural carriers as many as 31.1 hours per day (or more) for the entire initial 150-day challenge period to challenge claimed coverage in their service areas using the Commission’s newly increased 400 meter buffer radius. A 90-day challenge window extension will help to provide small rural carriers sufficient time to collect the data that is required to challenge the existence of 4G LTE service in rural areas throughout the country.
“A 90-day challenge window extension will help to alleviate the significant burden of participating in the MF-II challenge process,” said RWA General Counsel Carri Bennet. “This extra time will help RWA members and other prospective challengers be better able to undertake the work necessary to mount successful challenges, which will, in turn, yield a more accurate 4G LTE coverage map and help to target USF support in rural areas where it is badly needed.”