I’ve been talking about the new FCC maps a lot because future funding is going to depend on them. So, it’s important that they are right. It’s so important that the FCC is posting tools and offering tutorials…
By this Public Notice, the Broadband Data Task Force (Task Force) announces the availability of technical assistance resources, including an upcoming November 30th workshop, to assist entities in preparing to file bulk challenges to fixed broadband availability data as part of the Broadband Data Collection (BDC).
Challenging the Map by Household
It seems like the easiest way to report an error in the mapping is to report it from the address from the map itself. You can enter an address then there’s a map where you can toggle easily from Fixed Broadband (wired and fixed wireless) and Mobile (think cell phone, hot spot) Broadband. If you think the information they are reporting is wrong you can submit a Location Challenge. Now when I looked at the map the other day that option popped right up. This time I had to click on my address on the map and then it showed up – in that sidebar section. It’s a simple form asking for name, email address, phone (optional), challenge type and two places for more information. Inherent in the form is the idea that they might contact you.
Bulk Challenge of the Map
If you think that swaths of your community are not fairly represented, you can submit a bulk challenge. Bulk challenges are much more complicated. I’m not a GIS expert or even that great with maps but I watched the first tutorial (below) and realized if it were up to me to submit claims, I’d need to phone a friend. I gleaned a few things that are helpful to know before you dive in.
- The data that you submit to challenge must have been collected after June 30, 2022.
- They will ask for contact info for every address.
- The data they collect will go to the provider that seems to represent the location. They will have 10 days to offer the service or the location status is corrected as unserved on the map.
- Inherent here is that submitting an address is tantamount to ordering service from the provider, which is quite a leap. Also, the provider will see who has reported on the service.
The process to submit data seems arduous to me. To be fair the process may be less arduous to someone who is better with maps and I am open to correction if I have misunderstood aspects of the tutorial.
The maps are created using data supplied by the providers. I’ve heard the process for submitting the data is time consuming so I recognize that they have put in effort but it seems like the process to make any corrections rests solely on the households or communities. I know with the Minnesota maps, the process is a little more equal. Someone reports a questionable address and the Office of Broadband Development follows up. I think the process is pretty similar with “bulk” reporting. (Another example of Minnesota being well above average?)
Here’s more info on the tutorials and tools from the FCC…
To help state, local, and Tribal governments, ISPs, and other entities compile their data and file fixed availability challenges, the Task Force has released two video tutorials. The first video provides an overview of the fixed bulk availability challenge process, and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKL_p8ieFDo. The second video walks filers through the process of submitting bulk fixed availability challenge data in the BDC system, and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaOlwJN_1RY. The Task Force previously released its Specifications for Bulk Fixed Availability Challenge and Crowdsource Data on September 15, 2022, which provides guidance on the requirements for filing bulk challenges to fixed broadband availability data.3 We encourage parties interested in submitting bulk fixed availability challenges to review this document in conjunction with the tutorial video. Additionally, the Task Force will hold a virtual technical assistance workshop on November 30, starting at 4:00 p.m. EDT to assist potential bulk filers in submitting their data. To participate in the workshop, interested parties should register to attend at: https://fccgov.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_F37YX5hRQJCHrVmLZsnqAg. Questions about bulk fixed availability challenges may be submitted in advance of or during the workshop to BDCWebinar@fcc.gov.