FCC Grants Limited Waiver of PE Requirements Through June 30, 2023 Filing for Broadband Data Collection Mapping

The FCC has issued a Declaratory Ruling and Limited Waiver responding to a CCA Petition for Declaratory Ruling or Limited Waiver regarding the requirement for certified professional engineers1 to certify Broadband Data Collection (“BDC”) maps. The following is a summary of the FCC’s clarification of the requirements for a corporate engineering officer and the limited waiver with regard to otherwise qualified engineers for BDC filings. For the first three data submissions, the FCC will not require that a certifying engineer be a P.E.

Clarification of Corporate Engineering Officer – The FCC clarifies that when a mobile or fixed service provider is submitting a certification of the accuracy of its broadband submissions from a “corporate engineering officer,” that corporate engineering officer does not need to be a certified PE. Rather, the corporate engineering officer can qualify by possessing a B.S. degree in engineering so long as the officer has both direct knowledge of, and responsibility for, the carrier’s network design and construction and has direct knowledge of, or responsibility for, the generation of the service provider’s BDC filing.

Limited Waiver for Otherwise-Qualified Engineer – The FCC granted a limited waiver for all mobile and fixed providers certifying broadband availability data during the first three filing cycles of the BDC, specifically for data collected as of June 30, 2022, December 31, 2022, and June 30, 2023. The FCC states that the limited waiver will provide sufficient time for providers to become accustomed to filing data in the BDC system and to obtain the necessary engineering support to certify their BDC filings in subsequent filings. During the limited term of the waiver, the FCC will require providers to include with their BDC submissions a certification from an otherwise-qualified engineer in accordance with the requirements of section 1.7004(d).2 As a condition of the waiver, otherwise-qualified engineers must possess either:

(1) a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree in electrical engineering, electronic technology, or another similar technical discipline, and at least seven years of relevant experience in broadband network design and/or performance; or

(2) specialized training relevant to broadband network engineering and design, deployment, and/or performance, and at least ten years of relevant experience in broadband network engineering, design, and/or performance.

The FCC expects qualified engineers experienced in broadband network design and/or performance will have proficient knowledge of mobile and/or fixed broadband technologies, RF link budgets and propagation modeling, RF network design and optimization, and experience with field testing, remote testing, drive-test collection, and/or other data collection, data processing, and mapping tools.

If a provider wishes to avail itself of the waiver, it should include the following language in the “Explanations and Comments” box of its submission in the BDC system: “The engineer certifying our submission meets the minimum qualifications outlined in the Declaratory Ruling and Limited Waiver adopted on July 8, 2022 in WC Docket No. 19-195.”

Please contact Robin Tuttle at [email protected] or Dee Herman at [email protected] if you have any questions.

[1] As a premise, the FCC states that a “certified professional engineer” (“certified PE” or “PE”) is an engineer possessing a professional license as a result of having completed or passing educational and testing requirements and earning a license from a state licensure board.

[2] Under section 1.7004(d), the engineer must state that he or she is employed by the provider and has direct knowledge of, or responsibility for, the generation of the provider’s Broadband Data Collection filing. In addition, the engineer must certify that he or she has examined the information contained in the submission and that, to the best of the engineer’s actual knowledge, information, and belief, all statements of fact contained in the submission are true and correct and in accordance with the service provider’s ordinary course of network design and engineering.

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