The FCC has announced that it will begin accepting bulk challenges to the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (“Fabric”) starting on September 12, 2022. The inaugural Broadband Data Collection (“BDC”) window closed on September 1, 2022, which marked the first time that broadband providers were required to report their service offerings on a location basis. In order to enable this granular level of reporting, the FCC developed the Fabric, which is a map that contains each of the individual locations that should have or be able to install broadband service.
The FCC intends for the maps created through the BDC to change as the real world changes to ensure that they are an accurate depiction of broadband service at every location in the United States. In order to achieve this goal, the Fabric upon which the reporting is based will need to be continually updated and improved. The challenge process that opens on September 12, 2022 will allow the FCC to update the Fabric by accepting feedback from the states, local governments, Tribal governments, and providers who are most familiar with where there may be gaps or errors in the locations reported in the fabric. The FCC will utilize this feedback to refine the next version of the Fabric, which they expect to be released in December, in anticipation of the next BDC filing window.
Entities interested in submitting a challenge to the Fabric should familiarize themselves with the Bulk Fabric Challenge Specs Public Notice and associated specifications. At minimum, challengers will be required to provide: (1) the entity’s name and contact information; (2) the locations subject to challenge; (3) the category of the challenge (i.e. residential, non-residential, or mass-market); and (4) evidence to support the challenge. 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.
Once the initial versions of the maps have been released, which the FCC currently anticipates will be in November of this year, state, local, and Tribal governments, other third parties and consumers will be able to provide feedback on the maps through the fixed and mobile challenge processes. These challenge processes allow governments, third parties, and consumers to challenge a service provider’s reported service offerings, including challenges to the providers reported speeds and types of services offered.
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