FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT
February 10, 2012
Neil Grace, (202) 418-0506
FCC ANNOUNCES STEPS TO CLOSE NATION’S GAPS IN ADVANCED MOBILE SERVICE
THROUGH THE MOBILITY FUND PHASE I AUCTION; NEW INTERACTIVE MAP
ILLUSTRATES POTENTIALLY ELIGIBLE AREAS FOR SUPPORT
Washington, D.C. – The FCC today announced steps to close our nation’s gaps in mobile service as part of the agency’s groundbreaking reforms under the Connect America Fund, which the Commission adopted last year to put America on the path to universal broadband and advanced mobile coverage by the end of the decade. The Commission recently released a public notice (PN) announcing a reverse auction to award $300 million in one-time Mobility Fund Phase I support starting the implementation process. It also has developed and released a new interactive map to illustrate areas potentially eligible for support.
FCC Chairman Genachowski said, “As our new map demonstrates, millions of Americans still live, work, and travel in areas where advanced mobile networks have not been built out. Through the FCC’s Connect America Fund, we’re helping complete our nation’s wired and wireless infrastructure, which will lead to job creation, economic growth, and innovation in the 21st century.” As part of the Connect America Fund, the Commission created for the first time the Mobility Fund, a universal service support mechanism dedicated exclusively to mobile services. Phase I of the Mobility Fund will provide one-time support to accelerate our nation's ongoing efforts to close gaps in mobile wireless service. The Mobility Fund helps improve coverage in these areas for current-generation or better mobile voice and broadband services.
In the PN, the Wireless Telecommunications and Wireline Competition Bureaus announce the first auction (Auction 901) to award high-cost universal service support through reverse competitive bidding and seek comment on identifying geographic areas eligible for support, determining the basic auction design, and establishing certain other bidding procedures. Auction 901 will award one-time support to carriers that commit to provide 3G or better mobile voice and broadband services in areas where such services are unavailable. Before the auction, the Bureaus will provide the final list of census blocks available, related data such as road miles and population, an interactive mapping interface, along with additional information designed to assist potential bidders considering participation in the auction. The auction is scheduled to begin on September 27, 2012.
To help illustrate areas in the U.S. that currently lack access to advanced mobile networks, the FCC developed an interactive visual representation of the areas preliminarily identified as potentially eligible for Mobility Fund Phase I support and large pockets of our nation that lack access to 3G mobile service or better. The innovative map is based on data from American Roamer showing census blocks served and underserved by 3G or better mobile coverage.
Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for full participation in our economy and society all Americans. For that reason, the FCC adopted once-in-a generation reform of the multi-billion dollar Universal Service Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) systems, transforming it into the Connect America Fund to accelerate broadband build-out to the 18 million Americans living in rural areas who currently have no access to broadband infrastructure. These reforms will help expand the benefits of high-speed Internet to millions of consumers in every part of the country by the end of the decade.