FCC Announces Inaugural Broadband Data Collection Filing Dates

On February 22, 2022, the FCC released a Public Notice announcing the filing dates for the Inaugural Broadband Data Collection, as required by the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act.  All facilities-based providers of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service must submit data depicting deployment as of June 30, 2022 using the new rules and procedures for the Broadband Data Collection (“BDC”) on or before September 1, 2022The BDC filing window will open on June 30, 2022 and covered providers are encouraged to upload their data into the system well in advance of the filing window.  The BDC system will include automatic checks and validations that will prevent filers from submitting faulty data, which filers must correct prior to submitting and certifying their BDC filing.  Filing early will afford filers the opportunity to make necessary corrections in advance of the deadline.   The FCC emphasizes that requests for waivers or extensions of the filing deadline will face a high hurdle, even at the starting gate, and that failure to timely file required data in the new BDC system may lead to enforcement action and/or penalties.

The FCC will release detailed data specifications to instruct filers on how they must prepare and format their BDC availability data.  The specifications will address the types of data that must or may be submitted by different entities, how the system will accept the data, how files must be formatted for upload, and the values that the system will accept and validate against other sources.   In addition, the FCC will release additional resources pertaining to the BDC including, but not limited to: data specifications for broadband availability data, challenge and crowdsource data, infrastructure data for challenge rebuttal, and third-party speed test data; a User Guide for the BDC system; an order establishing the technical requirements for the mobile challenge, verification, and crowdsourcing processes based on the record developed in response to the BDC Mobile Technical Requirements Public Notice; a public notice announcing the process through which third-party speed test apps can seek approval from OET for use in the challenge and crowdsource processes; guidance on the process for authenticating state, local, and Tribal government filers primarily responsible for mapping or tracking broadband service coverage; and information on the technical assistance resources and support the Commission will make available as part of the BDC.

The Notice does not alter the obligation of service providers to file their semiannual Form 477 filing.  Until the FCC announces a sunset date for the submission of Form 477 broadband deployment data, all service providers must continue to submit their Form 477 data.  Fixed and mobile broadband service providers that have traditionally filed broadband and voice subscribership data in the FCC’s Form 477 filing interface will be required to file these subscribership data in both the new BDC system and the existing Form 477 filing interface.

The FCC recognizes that the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric is currently subject to a protest as a part of the contract award process, but anticipates that this protest will be resolved and the Fabric will be completed prior to the June 30, 2022 opening of the BDC system.  Should delays with the Fabric or other BDC systems arise, a future Notice will be issued, if required, to extend deadlines.

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