Manchin puts hold on FCC nomination over wireless internet fund delay

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE (D-W.Va.) has placed a hold on a Republican nomination to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the agency’s decision to pause a program that would fund wireless internet expansion in rural areas.

Manchin announced the hold on Commissioner Brendan Carr’s renomination Thursday, a week after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the agency’s Mobility Fund Phase II program would be suspended temporarily while regulators investigate whether major wireless carriers submitted false data on their coverage maps.

Manchin said that “inaccurate” maps are not a good enough reason to put the funds on hold.

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“Last week the FCC finally recognized that their broadband maps were inaccurate,” Manchin said in a statement. “That’s something that I have been saying since day one. But the answer is not to put the Mobility Fund on an indefinite hold that prevents states like West Virginia from receiving the funding they desperately need to deploy mobile broadband.”

Sen. Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanGOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Energy secretary accuses banks of 'redlining' oil and gas industry Postal Service to review package fee policy: report MORE (R-Alaska) had also placed a hold on Carr’s nomination earlier this year in another dispute with the FCC.

Pai said last week that the agency would be looking into whether “one or more major carriers” had submitted false broadband mapping data in violation of commission rules.

The chairman said the rollout of the $4.53 billion mobility fund would be suspended until the investigation is complete.

A spokeswoman for the FCC declined to comment.