May 02, 2018

Manchin Announces FCC Official to Visit West Virginia

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced today Michael Janson, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Deputy Director of the Rural Broadband Auctions Taskforce will visit BridgeValley Community & Technical College in West Virginia on Friday, May 18th to discuss the Challenge Process for Mobility Fund II, a $4.5 billion program that will help companies serve rural areas with high-speed broadband.  The event is intended to help state and local governments and other WV stakeholders understand the challenge process currently available to them, so that they will be able to challenge the initial eligible areas made available by the FCC.  Once the challenge process is complete, providers will bid to serve eligible areas.

“We all know that in order to succeed in our 21st century economy West Virginians need access to reliable, high-speed internet. Since I’ve been in the Senate, I have worked with the FCC to close the broadband gap between big cities and rural America, but we face some unique challenges in West Virginia. Our beautiful mountains and rugged terrain make it more expensive to build out broadband infrastructure where we live. All West Virginians need to be engaged in the challenge process so we can get our fair share of this funding, and I applaud Mr. Janson for his willingness to come to West Virginia and help us understand how to do just that. And I thank BridgeValley President Bellinger for hosting this important event,” said Senator Manchin. 

This event takes place as a result of Senator Manchin’s longstanding efforts to make broadband more accessible to rural stakeholders.  In March, Senator Manchin sent a letter to Chairman Pai urging him to reach out to state and local governments to notify them of the opportunity, support them through the challenge process, and minimize any cost burden that may be associated with it.  Following Senator Manchin’s letter, the FCC released a new map highlighting areas where a challenge is most likely to succeed in hopes of helping applicants target their efforts.

The Mobility Fund II Challenge Process began in March 2018.  Senator Manchin has encouraged all state and local governments to review their coverage maps and challenge them where they’re wrong.  His office is also working with interested applicants to ensure they complete the process. 

To view the eligible areas map released by the FCC click here.

To learn more about how to challenge the FCC map click here.

Senator Manchin’s Efforts on the Mobility Fund

September 22, 2015: Senator Manchin sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler, urging him to move on the Mobility Fund, which would ensure that the states with the lowest rates of advanced wireless penetration received the most funding, and inviting him to WV. 

July 11, 2016: Senator Manchin, along with Senator Roger Wicker and 24 of their colleagues, sent a letter to Chairman Wheeler urging the FCC to move on the Mobility Fund. 

October 11, 2016: Senator Manchin hosted Chairman Wheeler in West Virginia to meet with key stakeholders from West Virginia’s communication technology sector and talk about the importance of the Mobility Fund.

January 25, 2017: Senator Manchin and FCC Commissioner Clyburn published an op-ed on the importance of the Mobility Fund in a 21st century digital economy. 

February 2, 2017: Senator Manchin, along with Senator Wicker, and 28 of their colleagues, sent a letter to Chairman Pai again urging the FCC to move on the Mobility Fund.

February 23, 2017: Senator Manchin praised the FCC, after it votes unanimously to move forward with Phase II of Mobility Fund, which prioritizes mobile broadband deployment in rural and underserved communities and protects small internet service providers from burdensome regulations.

April 12, 2017: Senator Manchin and Senator Wicker sent a letter to the FCC urging their Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force to move forward with the Mobility Fund using accurate maps. 

August 3, 2017: FCC votes on Mobility Fund Order to begin the process of providing $4.53 billion over ten years to expand mobile broadband deployment.