Broadband-related language in the Ray Baum’s Act could provide a fresh opening for lawmakers to raise concerns about the FCC’s broadband coverage data mapping practices, said R Street Institute Technology Policy Manager Tom Struble. The underlying spending law also allocated funding to NTIA to coordinate the federal government’s broadband mapping activities with an eye to FCC difficulties. “There’s lots of talk” about fully transferring mapping authority to NTIA, but “the FCC I think recognizes that everyone is upset about this” and lawmakers are likely to give them a chance to fix its processes, Struble said.
“Everyone is concerned about inaccuracies in [the MF-II] data” and the issue got fresh attention in recent weeks, Struble said. “People get very heated” about the issue because of the effect inaccurate data has on broadband subsidies. The FCC announced an investigation Friday into whether major carriers violated the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) reverse auction mapping rules (see 1812070048). Senate Communications Subcommittee Chairman Roger Wicker, R-Miss., also has been preparing a proposed amendment to FY 2019 federal spending legislation that would force the FCC to revisit MF-II data (see 1812050049).