National Broadband Map/Broadband Data Collection

  • Post category:Blog

On May 22, 2024, the FCC announced that an Order and Declaratory Ruling was on circulation at the Commission that updates the FCC’s data collection and audit processes and proposes further changes to the verification process for the National Broadband Map (Map).  The Map displays specific location-level information regarding broadband availability across the country.  The FCC states that an accurate Map is important for targeting funding and other efforts to bring broadband services to unserved and underserved areas. The Commission reiterated its commitment to releasing updated versions of the Map every six months as required by the Broadband DATA Act. While on circulation the actual Order and Declaratory Ruling are not available for review, but the Commission announced that the Order and Declaratory Ruling would clarify and strengthen the agency’s audit procedures to ensure the accuracy of service provider’s broadband availability data. Further the Order and Declaratory Ruling proposed modifications to data collection requirements and enhancements to data validation processes to improve the accuracy of the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric) and broadband availability data.

In response to Order and Declaratory Ruling on circulation discussed above, NTCA held ex-parte discussions with the Commission. NTCA made several recommendations (consistent with their previous discussions with the FCC), most notably urging the Commission to strengthen reporting verification efforts, enable greater use of performance and subscription data to inform challenges, consider changes to reporting standards to reflect proven technological capabilities on an objective engineering basis in lieu of accepting advertising claims, and to review the use of Broadband Data Collection (BDC) data in making better-informed decisions that affect broadband funding and policy.

In a related matter, on June 25, 2024, the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that the Fifth BDC filing window for submitting broadband availability and other data as of June 30, 2024, will open on July 1, 2024. In addition, the June 2024 update (Version 5) of the Fabric is being made available to existing Fabric licensees in advance of the opening of the window. Beginning July 1, 2024, facilities based broadband service providers may submit data into the BDC system identifying where they have made broadband service available as of June 30, 2024. In addition, providers of fixed and mobile voice services must also submit their June 30, 2024, subscription data required under Form 477 into the BDC system. The Public Notice points out that all availability and subscription data must be submitted no later than September 1, 2024. The Notice encourages filers to submit their availability data as of June 30, 2024, as early as possible to ensure that there is ample opportunity to address any problems with their data identified by the BDC system prior to the September 1, 2024 deadline.

Leave a Reply