FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has asked his fellow Commissioners to approve a 90-day extension of the window for challenging designations of areas as served, and thus ineligible for support, on the eligibility map for the upcoming Mobility Fund Phase II reverse auction, in which it will distribute up to $4.53 billion to support deployment of 4G LTE service that is now lacking.
The Chairman announced today that he has circulated for a vote an item to extend the window, which currently is set to close Aug. 27. The circulating item would extend the window to Nov. 26.
Parties conducting tests of service availability as part of the challenge process, as well as lawmakers, had urged the FCC to allow more time. Chairman Pai had responded to a group of 30 senators in late May, saying he supported extending the window (TR Daily, May 30).
In a statement today, Chairman Pai said, “The FCC has an important role in making sure that modern wireless services and the access they provide to emergency services, voice communications, and information are available to consumers living in and traveling through rural areas. Our Mobility Fund Phase II auction will go a long way toward fulfilling that goal. But it’s critical that we get it right: Our limited universal service funds for mobile service must be effectively and accurately targeted to areas that lack unsubsidized 4G LTE service. That’s why I’m seeking a 90-day extension of our challenge process, which will ensure fulsome participation in the process. I’m urging my fellow commissioners to vote this item quickly, so we can proceed with a robust challenge process, and then move forward with this important auction.” —Lynn Stanton, email@example.com
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