The Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) and USTelecom – The Broadband Association submitted a petition in August to extend the waiver, as the initial one, which was issued in 2022, has expired this year.
Let’s read the news and find out.
FCC waiver raises data accuracy concerns
According to the petition, strictly enforcing the professional engineer requirement will “fail to reflect the realities of the broadband workforce and hinder broadband deployment for both mobile and fixed networks.”
The petition by US Telecom and the CCA to extend the waiver under BDC has been effective, with “no impact” on the quality or accuracy of the BDC filings.
The groups claimed, “There remains an ongoing industry need for a waiver of the PE requirement,”
Whereas the FCC has decided to continue waiving a requirement that providers obtain a professional engineer’s certification for their broadband data collection (BDC) filings.
According to EVP Mike Romano, NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association—urged the FCC not to eliminate the requirement of professional engineering certification. He added that NTCA and its members still see some broadband coverage claims that “raise significant questions as to their accuracy.”
Mike Romano stated, “To ensure that the national broadband map continues to improve in each iteration, it’s important to ensure that updated and revised claims of broadband coverage will be accurate as they are submitted each reporting cycle.”
To ensure that there would be “more data to back up claims that were not certified in this manner,” the NTCA recommended that the FCC impose certain requirements in alternative to the waiver.
According to the FCC, there are three conditions for the renewed waiver:
- To submit their broadband data filings, providers must have a BDC submission validated by an engineering professional who meets the qualifications outlined in the 2022 waiver.
- Providers will have to retain certain foundational network information for every submission made under a waiver.
- Providers must “expeditiously provide this network information to the Commission” upon request.
This waiver will be in effect for the upcoming three filing periods for broadband data. The dates are as follows:
- December 31, 2023
- June 30, 2024
- December 31, 2024.
Mike Wendy, a Wireless Internet Service Providers Association representative, referred to the FCC’s decision to keep waiving the requirement as a “big win for WISPs, especially small providers.”
Grant Spellmeyer, the CEO of ACA Connects, praised the FCC for extending the waiver, stating, “This action will enable smaller broadband providers to continue to make timely, complete and accurate filings without incurring unnecessary burdens.”
Mike Romano also stated that the NTCA is “heartened at least to see that the FCC conditioned this new waiver upon the need to retain and submit additional network information that can help validate coverage claims.”
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