Speed Data Information Marked Confidential in Form 477 Filings Will Be Made Public;
Carriers Must File a Statement of Justification by April 26, 2017
To Request Continued Confidentiality
In the recent Mobility Fund Phase II Order and Further Notice, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) determined that any census block not fully covered by unsubsidized 4G LTE services with a minimum download speed of five (5) Mbps download speeds would be considered an eligible area for support in the Mobility Fund II auction. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (“WTB”) and the Wireline Competition Bureau (“WCB”) were tasked with making the initial determinations of eligible areas based on data contained in carriers’ Form 477 filings.
In an effort to make the process for challenges and final determination of eligible areas more transparent, the WTB and the WCB recently announced their proposal to make public the minimum advertised or expected 4G LTE speed data included in carriers’ Form 477 filings from December 31, 2015 and June 30, 2016 (and any subsequent Form 477 filings). The Commission allows carriers to request confidential treatment of specific speed and spectrum parameters in their Form 477 filings by clicking a single non-disclosure check box. Carriers that avail themselves of this streamlined request for confidentiality have not been required to provide the reasons for their request. However, with the proposed disclosure of this information, carriers that did so will now be provided an opportunity to submit statements supporting a request for continued confidential treatment.
Carriers that want their 4G LTE speed information to remain confidential must oppose disclosure of the information marked confidential in the Form 477 filings by submitting a full justification statement in support of their request for continued confidential treatment by April 26, 2017. Initially the deadline for filing the justification statements was April 12, 2017; however, on April 11, 2017, the WTB extended the deadline to April 26, 2017.