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FCC Publishes Study Area Boundary Map

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Released: December 2, 2013


Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.


Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 13-2296

Released: December 2, 2013



WC Docket No. 10-90

WC Docket No. 05-337

In May and June of 2013, incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and certain state public
utility commissions submitted study area boundary data to the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) in
accordance with the Bureau’s requirements.1 Today, the Bureau publishes an online, publicly-accessible
map of the study area boundaries submitted by filers.2 The map can be viewed at3
The map depicts the study area boundary data that filers certified as accurate to the best of their
knowledge, information, and belief.4 After viewing the submitted boundaries of their neighboring ILECs
on the online map, however, providers may wish to modify their boundaries in light of this new
information, and we encourage them to do so using the procedures described below. If parties choose not
to revise their study area boundary data, we will rely on the certified boundaries submitted earlier this
The publication of this online map is consistent with our plans to reconcile the filed boundary
data, as explained in the Study Area Boundary Order and Study Area Boundary Reconsideration Order.5
In those orders, we stated we would contact filers to resolve overlaps and voids, as well as share data with
state entities to assist them in participating in the reconciliation process.6 We conclude that publishing an
online, publicly-accessible map of the submitted boundaries for all ILECs and state entities to review is
the fastest, most efficient, and most transparent way to initiate the boundary reconciliation process. After

1 Connect America Fund; High-Cost Universal Service Support, WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337, Report and Order,
27 FCC Rcd 13528 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2012) (Study Area Boundary Order); Connect America Fund; High-Cost
Universal Service Support
, WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337, Order on Reconsideration, 28 FCC Rcd 1489 (Wireline
Comp. Bur. 2013) (Study Area Boundary Reconsideration Order); Wireline Competition Bureau Announces
Procedures and Deadlines for Submissions of Study Area Boundaries
, WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337, Public
Notice, 28 FCC Rcd 2852 (Wireline Comp. Bur. 2013) (Study Area Boundary Procedures PN).
2 Data subject to confidentiality requests are not being made publicly available, as described in the “Confidentiality
Requests” section, infra.
3 We recommend accessing the website in Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, as you may experience difficulty loading it in
older versions of Internet Explorer.
4 See Study Area Boundary Reconsideration Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 1494, para. 15.
5 See Study Area Boundary Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 13534-35, para. 20; Study Area Boundary Reconsideration Order,
28 FCC Rcd at 1491-92, para. 7.
6 Id.

parties have filed revised data, we will publish an updated map reflecting these changes, consistent with
the Study Area Boundary Order.7

Description of the Online Map

The online map displays all of the submitted study area boundaries, except those subject to
confidentiality requests,8 and provides data describing each study area. The Bureau has reviewed the
submitted data and has corrected various errors,9 but we have not altered the boundaries to address the
overlaps or voids.10 Therefore, the online map depicts the visible overlaps and voids present in the
submitted study area boundaries. It also highlights certain large overlaps and provides information about
them, including their size and associated ILEC names. Parties accessing the online map can download the
study area boundary data in an esri shapefile format.

Procedures for Reviewing, Reconciling, and Resubmitting Data

We strongly encourage all ILECs to take the following actions: (1) review the online map of the
submitted study area boundaries; (2) resolve any overlaps and voids with neighboring ILECs based on
discussions with one another and/or input from state entities; and (3) resubmit and recertify their study
area boundary data based on any boundary modifications agreed to by the relevant parties. We also
recommend that state commissions review the study area boundary map in order to modify their data
submissions as necessary and to advise the ILECs in their state on resolving boundary overlaps and voids.
As stated in the Study Area Boundary Reconsideration Order, we encourage state commissions and state
telecommunications associations to participate in this process.11 We believe that a reconciliation process
in which ILECs work directly with one another and with state entities to address boundary overlaps and
voids will be faster and result in more accurate data than having the Bureau act as an arbiter in potential
boundary disputes. We will provide all of the parties that submitted data in accordance with this
collection a list of contact information for reconciliation purposes. The contact information will include
the name, email address, and phone number of the submitter and certifying official associated with each
study area.
To the extent ILECs and state commissions choose to alter previously submitted boundaries, they
should submit and certify revised study area boundary data no later than

January 13, 2014

. In cases
where ILECs or state commissions do not submit revised study area boundary data by January 13, 2014,
we will rely on the certified boundaries already submitted by ILECs and state commissions in May and
June of 2013, until the biennial recertification of data, which will occur in 2015.12

7 See Study Area Boundary Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 13535, para. 20.
8 Requests for confidentiality were filed by Verizon and AT&T. See “Confidentiality Requests” section infra.
9 These include geometry errors (such as a non-contiguous polygon), spatial reference errors (such as the use of the
wrong coordinate system), and attribute errors (such as an incorrect entry in the data table associated with the
shapefile). In many cases, the Bureau contacted filers about these errors and asked them to resubmit corrected data.
10 Overlap areas are those shown to be served by more than one ILEC, while void areas are those shown to be served
by no ILEC and include both unpopulated and populated void areas. See Study Area Boundary Order, 27 FCC Rcd
at 13534, para. 20.
11 Study Area Boundary Reconsideration Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 1491, para. 7.
12 Parties must also submit annual updates of any boundary changes. See “Future Submissions” section, infra, for
further information on these requirements.

ILECs or state commissions that are correcting previously filed study area boundary data must
submit such corrected data in an esri shapefile format in accordance with the data specification provided
in the Study Area Boundary Reconsideration Order13 and the study area boundary shapefile template.14
Filers can resubmit the shapefiles by uploading them in a zip file at, the
same website used for the original filing. Once filers have logged in, they will be able to decertify a
previously-certified boundary shapefile for a particular study area code (SAC), and then upload and
certify the new shapefile for that SAC.

Confidentiality Requests

Verizon and AT&T requested confidential treatment for portions of their study area boundary
data.15 These companies submitted study area and wire center boundary data that they license from third
parties, and claim that public dissemination of such data would violate their license agreements.16 As a
result of these requests, the online map does not display Verizon’s entire study area in each state, but
instead displays the areas where Verizon’s submitted boundaries overlap with the submitted boundaries of
a neighboring ILEC. Verizon and its neighboring ILECs should review these overlaps to determine if
boundary revisions are necessary, and file revised data, if necessary, by January 13, 2014.
AT&T requested complete confidentiality for its study area boundaries in the following states:
Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and
Wisconsin.17 AT&T’s study areas in these states have not been published in the online map. In order to
reconcile overlaps and gaps with other ILECs in these states, the Bureau will provide AT&T with map
data indicating the areas where its study area boundaries overlap or create a void with the study area
boundaries of neighboring ILECs, based on the submitted data. AT&T is expected to interact with these
ILECs in a timely fashion in order to provide them with an opportunity to review the overlaps and voids,
address any boundary issues, and submit modified boundaries as necessary and described above. AT&T
must work with the neighboring ILECs (and the relevant state commissions, if necessary) so that they can
resubmit and recertify corrected study area boundaries by January 13, 2014. In addition, the online map
provides contact information for AT&T so that ILECs whose study areas border AT&T areas in the states
listed above can get in touch with AT&T directly if they have immediate concerns about any possible

Future Submissions

We remind filers that the reconciliation process does not end January 13, 2014. Filers are
required to review and recertify their study area boundary data every two years.18 In addition, filers must

13 See Study Area Boundary Reconsideration Order, 28 FCC Rcd at 1497-98, Appendix, available at
14 See See for the “readme” file
associated with the shapefile template.
15 Letter from Maggie McCready, Vice President, Federal Regulatory Affairs, Verizon, to Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337 (filed May 22, 2013); Letter from
Vonda Long-Dillard, Associate Director, Federal Relations, AT&T, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal
Communications Commission, WC Docket Nos. 10-90, 05-337 (filed July 25, 2013).
16 Id.
17 AT&T’s study area boundaries in the other states in which it operates are published on the online map.
18 Study Area Boundary Order, 27 FCC Rcd at 13535, para. 23.

provide updated data when study area boundaries change.19 Updated data must be submitted by March 15
of each year, beginning in 2014, showing any changes made by December 31 of the previous year. The
Bureau expects that filers will incorporate any modifications made as a result of this reconciliation
process into any annual updates to and biennial re-certifications of their study area boundary data.

Additional Information

Additional information on the study area boundary data collection, including the orders
referenced in this Public Notice, can be found on the Commission’s study area boundary webpage at Specific questions about the
requirements may be sent to You can also contact the study area
boundary staff of the Industry Analysis and Technology Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, by
calling (202) 418-0940, (202) 418-0484 (tty). For additional information about this Public Notice, please
contact Chelsea Fallon at (202) 418-7991 or; or John Emmett at (202) 418-0386
- FCC -

19 Id.

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