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FCC Waiver Permits Alaska Plan Drive Testing Using Proxies for Roadless Grid Cells

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The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) has released an Order granting a “narrow” waiver of the Alaska Drive-Test Order requirement that providers must start a drive test within a grid cell randomly that was selected by WTB.  The FCC has adopted a federal Universal Service Fund program called the Alaska Plan to address the “unique challenges of providing communications services in remote Alaska.”  One of the requirements for some recipients of Alaska Plan funding is to perform drive tests.  It appears, however, that some of the grid cells selected by WTB for this purpose do not have roads, which makes drive testing burdensome.  Accordingly, FCC staff will select nearby proxy grid cells for the mobile providers to test according to the criteria set out in the Order.

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