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WTB Makes Cellular Geographic Service Area Map Files Available Online

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Released: October 30, 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 13-2071

Released: October 30, 2013



Map files for Cellular Geographic Service Areas (“CGSAs”) in the 800 MHz Cellular
Radiotelephone (“Cellular”) Service are now available online. Ready access to this information,
in combination with electronic filing, serves to streamline Cellular Service filings, improve the
quality of incoming applications, reduce the number of applications that must be returned for
correction, and thereby reduce the time necessary to authorize Cellular service.
The map files are available in geographic information system (“GIS”) shapefile format at the
following link: The map files can be downloaded to view detailed
CGSA boundaries,1 thus placing at the fingertips of interested parties – in a centralized location – the
FCC information necessary to determine quickly and accurately the area in every Cellular Market Area
(“CMA”) – Blocks A and B – that remains unserved and available for licensing at a given time.2
Providing access to these map files online reflects the Commission’s long-standing commitment to serve
the public better, using readily available software technologies.
The map files draw directly from official station records for the Cellular Service in the
Universal Licensing System (“ULS”), using the most recent CGSA maps of record, including
those accompanying applications submitted under Sections 22.929(c) and 22.953(a) of the
Commission’s rules.3 Bureau staff updates the CGSA map files regularly and uses them to
determine the official boundary of an authorized CGSA and a proposed CGSA when processing a
Cellular Service application. The map files will be updated each week,4 and applicants should
consult them when preparing their applications or other filings in which CGSA boundaries are

1 Depending on the type of GIS software they opt to use, interested parties may also sort and filter the shapefile data
to suit their particular application needs, and if desired, generate and print CGSA maps.
2 Interested parties may still choose to review the most up-to-date CGSA maps of record by searching individual
applications in ULS. They may also continue to visit the FCC to view the full-size paper maps that are on file, with
the caveat that a particular paper map might be superseded by a subsequent full-size map electronically filed (“e-
filed”) by the applicant (and for which the shapefile data would be downloaded and made available to the public
3 47 C. F. R. §§ 22.929(c), 22.953(a).
4 For example, if a Cellular Service application is filed, returned for curative amendment, or granted by Friday at
11:59 pm in Week 1, it will be included in the Week 2 CGSA map files made available to the public. Each CGSA
map file will be identified as Current (i.e., licensed), Pending, or Returned. The prior week’s files will be
overwritten with each weekly update, and when accessing the files, parties will see an “as of” date.

relevant. Our intent in making this online resource available is to help applicants avoid the filing
of unserved area applications proposing impermissible CGSA overlaps. Applications proposing
such impermissible CGSA overlaps result in application returns, and delays in the authorization
of new Cellular service.
As explained in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for reform of the Cellular licensing
system, the Commission digitized all CGSAs using the most recent maps on file for licensed
CGSAs as of January 11, 2012.5 Shapefiles were then created using specialized computer
software and are stored electronically. They were used at the time to generate PDF versions of
the CGSAs and, for those with the appropriate software, interactive versions as well.6 As CGSAs
have been modified since January 11, 2012, Bureau staff has regularly updated the shapefiles.
The process of updating the CGSA map files has been facilitated by voluntary e-filing in ULS of
the vast majority of full-size (1:500,000 scale) CGSA maps submitted under Sections 22.929(c)
and 22.953(a).7 Starting today, all interested parties may download CGSA shapefile data directly
and work with the data as best suits their application needs.8
For further information, contact: Chris Miller, Geospatial Data Specialist, Technologies,
Systems and Innovations Division, (202) 418-1328,, Jeremy Reynolds,
Engineer, Mobility Division, (202) 418-0447, (technical/mechanical
questions), or Nina Shafran, Attorney Advisor, Mobility Division, (202) 418-2781,
Action by the Chief, Mobility Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
- FCC -

5 See Amendment of Parts 1 and 22 of the Commission's Rules with Regard to the Cellular Service, Including
Changes in Licensing of Unserved Area (remainder of caption omitted), Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order,
WT Docket Number 12-40, RM No. 11510, 27 FCC Rcd 1745, 1755, nn.87-88 (2012) ("Cellular NPRM"). The
proceeding remains pending.
6 See id. n.88 (providing the following link for access to the PDF and interactive versions: The map files accessible through this particular link will remain static as of
January 11, 2012.
7 See “Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Announces Electronic Filing Option for Cellular
Radiotelephone Service Full-Size Maps,” Public Notice, 26 FCC Rcd 11475 (WTB 2011). Until e-filing of
such maps is mandatory (see Cellular NPRM, 12 FCC Rcd at 1769 n.156), if a paper full-size CGSA map
is submitted rather than an e-filed map, Bureau staff will digitize the reduced-size PDF map uploaded by
the applicant in ULS, and will create the shapefile.
8 See supra note 1.

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