FCC says one or more major U.S. carriers may have submitted fake coverage maps to sway Mobility Fund
The FCC announced today (via Engadget) that one or more major U.S. carriers might have submitted incorrect coverage maps, violating mapping rules pertaining to the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) reverse auction. The Fund is expected to allocate over $4.53 billion over the next ten years to provide high-speed mobile broadband service to rural areas that wouldn't have it without government support. The regulatory agency is investigating.
Nearly 21 million speed tests from 37 states prove the inaccuracies of some of the maps. The issue is whether Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint exaggerated their LTE coverage in order to prevent rural carriers from receiving money from the Mobility Fund. These rural carriers would benefit from "dead spots" where none of the major wireless providers carry an LTE signal.
Verizon has already been accused this year by the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) of submitting false data to the FCC. In an filing made earlier with the regulatory agency, Verizon said that its signal covers 5,706 square miles of the Oklahoma Panhandle; an engineering report proved that Big Red's coverage in the region was half of what the carrier claimed.