Broadband Serviceable Locations

  • Post category:Blog

In the 1/31/24 edition of the ICORE Blog we discussed a Public Notice released by the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) on 1/25/24, providing guidance regarding potential future adjustments to EA-CAM deployment obligations and support amounts as required by the 7/24/23 EA-CAM Order. The EA-CAM Order instructs the WCB to ensure that EA-CAM support amounts and deployment obligations are reflective of the most accurate and timely location data from the Fabric and BDC process that reflects locations and broadband deployment that existed at the time the EA-CAM offers were made in August of 2023, but were not reflected in the Fabric or National Broadband Map.  Per the EA-CAM Order adjustments must be made no later than the end of 2025.

In the 1/25/24 Public Notice, the WCB announced that in order to identify broadband serviceable locations (BSLs) to which deployment may be required (based on the current availability of 100/20 broadband service), the WCB plans to use Version 4 of the Fabric (released 12/27/23 and also known as the December 2023 Fabric), as modified by any successful challenges to the location data submitted by 3/8/24. To identify broadband availability at the relevant locations, the WCB announced its plans to use BDC availability data as of 12/31/23 which was due 3/1/24 as well as any challenges to broadband availability data that have been resolved by 5/15/25.

On April 3, 2024, a joint letter was filed by NTCA, the ACAM BB Coalition, US Telecom, and WTA (the Associations) proposing changes to the process announced by the WCB on 1/25/24. First, the Associations agreed that Version 4 of the Fabric, as modified to reflect successful challenges, should be used as proposed by the WCB. Second, in regard to BDC availability data, the Associations proposed the use of 6/30/23 instead of 12/31/23 data for any BSL where such data is available. This approach would avoid penalizing an EA-CAM recipient for having deployed 100/20 or faster broadband service prior to 12/31/23 but most importantly after 8/30/23, the date the EA-CAM offers were made. Third, the Associations recognized that there would be BSLs for which there was no 6/30/23 availability data and in those cases the 12/31/23 availability data should be used. Finally, the Associations stated that the resolution of pending challenges to the 6/30/23 availability data should be incorporated into the final EA-CAM deployment obligations as should challenges to the December 2023 Fabric or to the December 2023 availability data for which December 2023 availability data would be used.

On May 3, 2024, the WCB issued a Public Notice updating its previous guidance regarding future adjustments to broadband deployment obligations and support amounts for EA-CAM carriers to adopt the approach recommended by the Associations. Specifically, to best reflect deployment as of the 8/30/23 EA-CAM offer date, the WCB will use BDC availability data as of 6/30/23 to determine deployment obligations and support for locations in the December 2023 Fabric. The Public Notice further states that challenges to the 6/30/23 availability data may be made until the National Broadband Map is updated later this month. Challenges filed after the National Broadband Map is updated in May 2024 will apply to 12/31/23 availability data and will not be applied retroactively to the 6/30/23 availability data for the same location. For this reason, the WCB urges Parties that intend to file challenges to the 6/30/23 availability data to do so before the next version of the Map is released. Finally, to the extent that 6/30/23 availability data cannot be matched to the December 2023 Fabric, 12/31/23 availability data will be used.

We support the changes outlined in this recent WCB Public Notice. As described by the Associations in their April 3, 2024 filing, the use of 6/30/23 availability data avoids penalizing EA-CAM recipients with reduced support in cases where the carrier aggressively addressed its 100/20 deployment obligations in the final months of 2023. In addition, if 12/31/23 availability data was used a competitor that began providing 100/20 service in late 2023 could be construed to have been offering service at the time the EA-CAM offers were made resulting in certain BSLs being classified as jointly served or competitor only served BSLs leading to reduced support for EA-CAM recipients.

Leave a Reply