The FCC reports…
By this Public Notice, the Broadband Data Task Force (Task Force), together with the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) and Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA), announce that as of September 12, 2022, state, local, and Tribal governments, service providers, and other entities can begin to file bulk challenges to data in the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric),1 which serves as the foundation for the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) fixed availability maps. We also announce that we will host a webinar on September 7, 2022, at 2 p.m. EDT, to assist state, local, and Tribal governments, service providers, and other entities who intend to submit bulk challenges, or proposed corrections, to the location data in the Fabric. The virtual event will stream on www.fcc.gov/live and the Commission’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/FCC and will provide an overview of Fabric challenges and a walkthrough of the BDC system’s bulk Fabric challenge submission process.
The Fabric is a common dataset of all locations in the United States where fixed broadband Internet access service is or can be installed.2 The Broadband DATA Act3 required the Commission to issue rules establishing the Fabric, which will, among other things, serve as the foundation on which all data relating to the availability of fixed broadband Internet access service will be reported and overlaid.4 The Commission adopted the Fabric and the basic elements required by the Broadband DATA Act in the Second Report and Order5 and further refined key definitions for the Fabric (and established the Fabric challenge process) in the Third Report and Order. 6 Specifically, the Commission adopted a definition of a “location” for purposes of the Fabric, as well as definitions for “residential location” and “business location,” and delegated responsibility to OEA, in consultation with WCB, to ensure that locations reflect broadband serviceability to the extent OEA and WCB are able to make determinations given the data available.7 The Task Force, OEA, and WCB subsequently provided details on the methods for identifying structures that constitute broadband serviceable locations (BSLs) in the Fabric.8 Fixed broadband service providers that report their broadband availability data using a list of locations must report their service availability based on the location data in the Fabric.9 On June 23, 2022, the Task Force, WCB, and OEA made the production version of the Fabric available to fixed broadband service providers and state, local and Tribal government entities.
Starting on September 12, 2022, governmental entities, broadband service providers, and other entities that have obtained Fabric data using the process set forth in prior public notices11 may submit bulk challenges to the Fabric data in the BDC system. These stakeholders are uniquely positioned to provide early feedback on a large number of locations included in the Fabric data, which will help to refine the next version of the Fabric expected to be released in December. The Task Force, OEA, and WCB previously issued detailed data specifications for formatting and submitting bulk Fabric challenges in the BDC system.12 Once the BDC broadband maps are published later this year, members of the public will be able to view the maps and submit online challenges to the Fabric data associated with an individual location using the map interface.
We remind governments, service providers, and other entities and organizations planning to submit challenges that the Fabric is intended to identify BSLs as defined by the Commission,13 which will not necessarily include all structures at a particular location or parcel. We therefore urge potential challengers to familiarize themselves with the Commission’s definition of BSLs and the additional guidance provided in the Bulk Fabric Challenge Specs Public Notice where we describe some of the characteristics of BSLs so that challengers will be able to align their data with the Fabric location data to determine where BSLs may be missing or mischaracterized. We also reiterate that bulk Fabric challenges must conform to the specifications set forth in the Data Specifications for Bulk Fabric Challenge Data. 14 The challenge data must include, among other things, the name and contact information of the submitting entity, the Fabric location subject to challenge, the category of the challenge for each location, and evidence supporting the challenge.15 Each bulk Fabric challenge data file must include records for each location being challenged in a Comma Separated Value (CSV) format, all fields must be included in the file upload, and all values must conform to the descriptions, codes, or formats identified for each field in the Data Specifications for Bulk Fabric Challenge Data. 16 Bulk Fabric challengers also must certify that the information they submit is true and correct (to the best of their actual knowledge, information, and belief) for each location that is part of the bulk challenge.
The September 7 webinar will be streamed live at both www.fcc.gov/live and on the Commission’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/FCC beginning at 2 p.m. EDT. A recording of the webinar will be posted to the Commission’s BDC webpage at www.fcc.gov/BroadbandData and on the Commission’s YouTube page. The event will include time for questions and answers, and questions may be submitted in advance of or during the workshop at BDCwebinar@fcc.gov.
Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available on request. Please include a description of the accommodation you will need and tell us how to contact you if we need more information. Make your request as early as possible. Last-minute requests will be accepted, but may not be possible to fulfill. Send an e-mail to FCC504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice).
The Commission also has made available on the BDC Help Center site at www.fcc.gov/BroadbandData/Help additional technical assistance materials for filing challenges to Fabric data, including the Data Specifications for Bulk Fabric Challenge Data (which sets forth the requirements for filing bulk challenges to BSL data in the Fabric), Fabric FAQs, and a bulk Fabric challenge data matrix, among other resources.