180. The Bureaus conclude that support recipients will be able to prove coverage as follows. If an awardee can prove coverage of at least 75 percent of the actual population associated with the eligible census blocks within a winning bid area, it may provide and prove coverage in any combination across eligible census blocks within that single bidding area, including providing coverage to more than 75 percent of the population in one eligible census block and less than 75 percent of the population in another eligible census block in the same bidding area. In response to comments, in the alternative the Bureaus will also permit proof of coverage by relying on a geographic area safe harbor, by which an awardee may show that it is providing coverage to at least 75 percent of the geographic area in a census block as a proxy for providing service to at least 75 percent of the population within that census block. Because using a geographic proxy is a safe harbor, geographic coverage must be shown on a census-block by census-block basis, rather than within the winning bid area as a whole. In other words, if a winning bidder relies on the geographic area safe harbor for a particular winning bid area, it must provide and prove coverage to at least 75 percent of the geographic area of each eligible census block within that winning bid area. With respect to demonstrating compliance with the coverage requirements, the Commission's rules set forth the standards for applicable drive test data and scattered site testing.
181. The Commission recognized the unique challenges of Tribal lands, which may have sparse roads and isolated populations for which a winning bidder would be required to prove coverage. In particular, given that the Commission adopted a population-based coverage metric for Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I, the Commission explained that providers may demonstrate coverage of an area with scattered site tests--i.e., a statistically significant number of tests in the vicinity of residences being covered. The Commission also noted that equipment to conduct such testing could be transported by off-road vehicles, such as snow-mobiles or other vehicles appropriate to local conditions.
ii. Annual Reporting and Record Retention Requirements
182. Winning bidders that are authorized to receive Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I support are required to submit to the Commission an annual report each year for the five years after being so authorized. Each annual report covers the preceding calendar year. As a result, any Auction 902 winning bidder that is first authorized to receive Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I support in 2014 will not be required to file an annual report regarding such support until the applicable deadline in 2015. The information and certifications required to be included in the annual report are described in 47 CFR 54.1009. As explained in the USF/ICC Transformation Order, if a recipient of
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