FCC Seeks Comment on Broadband DATA Collection Technical Requirements

On July 16, 2021, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, the Office of Economics and Analytics, and the Office of Engineering and Technology (“the Bureaus”) released a Public Notice (DA 21-853) seeking comment on the technical requirements for the mobile challenge, verification, and crowdsourcing processes required under the Broadband DATA Act.  As a reminder, the FCC delegated authority to the Bureaus to develop technical requirements for several processes, including a challenge process that will enable consumers and third parties to dispute service providers’ reported coverage data, a process to verify service providers’ reported coverage data, and a process to accept crowdsourced information from third parties.  The Public Notice seeks comment on several proposed technical requirements to implement these three processes.

The Public Notice first proposes and seeks comment on the technical requirements of the mobile challenge process, including what will constitute a cognizable challenge from third parties, the acceptable responses from providers to a challenge, and the on-the-ground and infrastructure data permissible in the providers’ response.  Next, the Bureaus propose and seek comment on the technical requirements of the verification process, including the area of the coverage map which would require verification, as well as the acceptable on-the-ground and infrastructure information that providers can supply for verification.   Further, the Public Notice proposes the procedures for governmental entities and third parties to submit verified data for use in the coverage maps.  Finally, the Bureaus propose and seek comment on the crowdsourcing process through which individuals and entities can submit information.  Technical Appendix A, attached to the Public Notice, provides the detailed processes and metrics that the Bureaus propose.

Pursuant to the July 28, 2021 publication in the Federal Register, comments are due on or before August 27, 2021, and reply comments are due on or before September 13, 2021.

As a reminder, the FCC’s Broadband Data Task Force will host a virtual webinar on Thursday, August 12, 2021 from 2:00-4:00 P.M, which will include a detailed presentation of the proposals contained in the Public Notice, as well as a question and answer session.  The webinar Public Notice includes additional information, including how to register.

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