Providers not thrilled with changes to FCC maps that could more accurately portray coverage

Ars Technica reports…

AT&T and T-Mobile are fighting a Federal Communications Commission plan to require drive tests that would verify whether the mobile carriers’ coverage claims are accurate.

The carriers’ objections came in response to the FCC seeking comment on a plan to improve the nation’s inadequate broadband maps. Besides submitting more accurate coverage maps, the FCC plan would require carriers to do a statistically significant amount of drive testing.

Providers had different reasons:

  • AT&T objected to the proposed drive-testing requirement in a filing to the FCC on Tuesday this week, saying that annual “drive testing is not the proper solution for verifying nationwide coverage maps” and that there is “potential difficulty in determining how to formulate a statistically valid sample for areas given the terrain variability nationwide.”
  • T-Mobile said, “A blanket requirement to perform regular on-the-ground testing will force providers to spend millions of dollars each year on tests, resources that would be better spent investing in our network and deployment in rural America.”
  • Verizon had objected to the possibility of a nationwide drive-test requirement in a September 2019 filing, saying that “Verizon conducts drive tests in a more targeted manner to calibrate its propagation model and to confirm the accuracy of the model.”

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