Rural carriers accuse Verizon of mendacity about 4G protection
A commerce group representing rural mobile carriers is accusing Verizon of ‘grossly’ overstating its 4G LTE protection in authorities filings, claiming the dangerous information might forestall rural carriers from acquiring subsidies geared toward bringing broadband to distant areas.
The Rural Wi-fi Affiliation (RWA) alleges the protection map Verizon submitted to the Federal Communications Fee is ‘a sham,’ and ought to be re-filed utilizing correct information, according to letter filed with the FCC on Tuesday. The group says the misinformation might forestall rural carriers from acquiring $4.5 billion in authorities subsidies as a part of the company’s Mobility Fund, which particularly targets funding for ‘rural areas that lack unsubsidized 4G,’ based on the FCC.
In different phrases, Verizon’s information exhibits the service providing 4G protection in areas the place it would not, and since the map exhibits that space is already lined with 4G service, rural carriers seeking to deploy there will not be capable to entry authorities funds to assist carry service there.
The accusation comes as coverage makers and members of Congress look extra intently at bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas. The FCC estimates 39 p.c of individuals dwelling in rural areas don’t have entry to broadband, in contrast with simply Four p.c of individuals in cities. The reason being easy. In sparsely populated areas, it isn’t economical for personal trade to deploy infrastructure.
Applications just like the FCC’s Mobility Fund are meant to assist smaller, rural service suppliers bridge that hole. However coverage makers additionally wish to guarantee that cash goes to areas that actually want it, and it needs to keep away from providing subsidies to carriers providing 4G service the place 4G is already obtainable.
Verizon says its protection map complies with the FCC’s mapping guidelines and trade finest practices for modeling. Whereas the corporate admits that no mannequin is ideal, since some maps inevitably overstate protection in some areas and understate in others, the corporate has met the FCC necessities.
‘The FCC adopted the principles, and Verizon adopted them,’ Richard Younger, a spokesman for the Verizon mentioned. ‘If RWA or one in all its members disputes the mannequin end in a selected space, it ought to comply with the principles and file a problem.’
However the RWA argues the criticism course of is just too costly for smaller carriers.
‘RWA’s members are in the course of the problem course of however are expending monumental time and monetary assets of their efforts attributable to inaccurate information submitted by Verizon,’ the group mentioned. ‘RWA requests that the fee examine the 4G LTE protection claimed by Verizon and require re-filing of Verizon’s information to appropriate its overstated protection.’