The Public Notice requests comment on how the Commission should target Phase II support to areas that need it. The Commission previously proposed to use Mosaik Solutions data to exclude all census blocks where an unsubsidized carrier provides 3G or better service, but it asks whether it could use any other data sources to better identify eligible areas. The Commission also previously proposed determining whether census blocks are eligible for support on whether the physical centers of the blocks have service. The Public Notice asks if the Commission should consider alternative eligibility standards, like whether less than 50 percent of a census block is unserved.
The Public Notice also requests comment on how and if the Commission should prioritize support for eligible areas. It asks if prioritization should be given to areas that lack all coverage, lack a designated level of coverage, or if other measurements should be used. As to coverage requirements and bidding units, the Commission asks whether road miles are the best metric to use. When it comes to requirements for the winners of Phase II support, the Commission asks whether and how it should modify performance metrics or adopt an evolving performance standard, given anticipated advances in technology. The Commission also asks whether it should provide Phase II support for a period of 10 years or for a shorter period of time, taking into consideration the timeframes for deployment, private investment, the pace of new technology, and marketplace developments.
Similarly, the Public Notice seeks comment on how the Commission can prevent carriers from receiving redundant support for the same service areas. Clarity on this standard will allow participants to know whether they should bid in the Phase II auction. The Commission also asks whether bidding credits are still important to help smaller carriers compete for support and whether Tribal priority units should be offered. Regarding payments, the Commission asks whether support should be disbursed upon the completion of certain milestones or on a regular basis.Comments are due on December 21, 2012, and Reply Comments are due on January 7, 2013. Please feel free to contact TLP should you have any questions.