May 18, 2018

Manchin, FCC Official, West Virginia Stakeholders Discuss How to Challenge Mobility Fund Map to Help Rural Areas Receive High-Speech Broadband

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Michael Janson, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Deputy Director of the Rural Broadband Auctions Taskforce in West Virginia, and West Virginia stakeholders discussed the Challenge Process for Mobility Fund II, a $4.5 billion program that will help companies serve rural areas with high-speed broadband.  

“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 coming to West Virginia and helping us understand how to do just that. Our state faces some unique challenges when it comes to broadband deployment. Our beautiful mountains and rugged terrain make it more expensive to build out broadband infrastructure where we live. So I’m glad state and local governments and other West Virginia stakeholders got the information they need so they can challenge initial eligible areas to make sure the final map is as accurate as possible. 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,” said Senator Manchin. 

This event took 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

May 18, 2018: Senator Manchin hosts the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau’s Associate Chief of Competition and Infrastructure Policy Division, Michael Janson, for an FCC Mobility Fund II Challenge Process presentation in West Virginia to help stakeholders better understand the challenge process and the opportunities they have to improve the accuracy of the eligibility map.

April 10, 2018: The FCC responds to Senator Manchin’s request that they provide support to state and local governments by releasing a new map that shows areas where challenges have the best likelihood of success.

March 29, 2018: Senator Manchin sends a letter to Chairman Pai encouraging the FCC to work with state and local governments on the Mobility Fund II Map Challenge Process to ensure the map reflects the actual real world experience of West Virginians

February 27, 2018: FCC releases their Initial Eligible Areas Map for Mobility Fund II.

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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.