FCC Form 477 census block data

Hi All,

I've been talking to a few people about issues with fulfilling the FCC's form 477 census data requirements for WISPs due to the difficulties in getting accurate data. It seems to me like something that should be easier than it is for many network operators today, but there is a disconnect between that expectation and the reality.

How are you all dealing with this today? Smooth sailing or full of problems?

We set the GPS coordinates on every SM install we do, so getting the subscription data is relativy easy.  We just pull the LAT/LON from each SM via SNMP and feed it to the Census Block Conversion API to get the list of blocks.  From there it is pretty easy to get a count of subs in each tract (the first 11 of the 15 digit block).  Some basic perl/python/bash scripting is all you need there.  It would be nice if cnMaestro could just create that file, or at the very least allow you to export a list of SM's LAT/LON.

As for deployment data, I haven't figured out a good way, besides paying a 3rd party $250, to get a list of census blocks within a circle/polygon (i.e. coverage area).  Does anyone have a slick way of doing that?

we use radio mobile to get a raster list of cords and RSSI level without our coverage area.    all cordnates ourside of our forcasted RSSI threshold is deleted out, change the cords to get the blocks and report.     simple enough if your used to radiomobile for mapping otherwise its a pain. 

We use TowerCoverage.com's radio propogation mapping, they will generate (and sell to you, of course) a list of census blocks covered, though of course that involves lots of hand-tweaking to ensure it is a reasonable representation of coverage...  And if you have different offerings in different areas (we still have a couple areas that we can't offer 10mbps service, for example) then you have to fudge it, or pay them for two seperate datasets.

On the other side, though, we have endless headaches.  Starting with our utterly uninterested and largely incompetent techs... (sorry, needed to vent - most don't grasp what a subnet or a gateway are)  Last time I checked we had 18 clients in the Himalayas in Tibet, (we serve parts of North Carolina and South Carolina...) another 10 that are at least 100 miles from the nearest tower (including one in Antarctica and one off the coast of Cyprus in the Mediterranean), and at least 100 clients total whose latitude/longitude is simply wrong.  (for the last, we have a few guys who can almost be depended on to re-use a recently-uninstalled radio and NOT change the location info - sometimes they even fail to change the name and IP)

Unfortunately I'm a contractor network engineer/admin, I can complain but I can't make policy to enforce.