Manchin Puts Hold on FCC Nomination Until FCC Chairman Guarantees Broadband Funding for West Virginia
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) put a hold on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominee, Brendan Carr. Last week, the FCC announced that they were indefinitely pausing the release of $4.5 billion through Mobility Fund Phase II. Over the past three years, Senator Manchin has fought to reallocate this funding to places like West Virginia that are the hardest and most expensive to serve.
“Last week the FCC finally recognized that their broadband maps were inaccurate. That’s something that I have been saying since day one. But the answer is not to put the Mobility Fund on an indefinite hold that prevents states like West Virginia from receiving the funding they desperately need to deploy mobile broadband. That’s why I am putting a hold on Brendan Carr’s nomination until FCC Chairman Ajit Pai can show me how states like West Virginia can access the broadband funding we need to close the digital divide. I was one of the more than 100 challengers who invested time and energy trying to make the Mobility Fund process work. If the Chairman feels he needs to put the brakes on this program at this stage of the game, I need to put the brakes on the confirmation of his next Commissioner until he can show me where we’re supposed to go from here,” Senator Manchin said.
The FCC announced they were putting the Mobility Fund Phase II on hold because it became apparent that the broadband connectivity maps that broadband providers submitted to the FCC were inaccurate, something that Senator Manchin has said from the beginning.
Senator Manchin was the only Member of Congress to submit a formal challenge to the Mobility Fund Phase II initial eligible areas map. The data Senator Manchin submitted proves the coverage map released by the FCC does not accurately depict broadband coverage throughout West Virginia. Senator Manchin was the only member of Congress to submit a formal challenge.
In May, the FCC granted Senator Manchin a waiver to participate as a challenger in the Mobility Fund Phase II challenge process, to make sure that broadband coverage maps in West Virginia are accurate. To read Senator Manchin’s waiver request, click here.
To view the eligible areas map released by the FCC click here.
Senator Manchin’s Efforts on the Mobility Fund
November 26, 2018: Senator Manchin becomes only Member of Congress to successfully challenge to the Mobility Fund Phase II Initial Eligible Areas Map.
June 5, 2018: Senator Manchin hosts a Facebook Live with FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Aaron Cox, Chairman of the Hampshire County Broadband Initiative Council to discuss broadband access in West Virginia, Mobility Fund II and how West Virginians could challenge the mapping process.
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 16, 2017: Senator Manchin and Senator Wicker meet with Chairman Pai to discuss the importance of a robust, reliable, and standardized data collection and challenge process.
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.
March 1, 2016: Senator Manchin, along with Senator Gardner and 7 of their colleagues, send a letter to Chairman Wheeler expressing their frustration with the inability of the FCC to accurately measure mobile broadband coverage available to consumers, especially in rural areas, and urging the FCC to partner with industry and other stakeholders to solve this problem.
February 29, 2016: Senator Manchin meets with Chairman Wheeler to highlight the importance of working with local, state, federal, and private entities to collect accurate data on mobile broadband coverage to ensure federal resources are invested in the places that truly need it.
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 23, 2015: Senator Manchin meets with Chairman Wheeler to discuss the important role the Mobility Fund can play in supporting broadband investments in hard to serve areas like West Virginia.
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