Input from state, local, and Tribal governments is essential to the success of the FCC's Broadband Data Collection (BDC). We invite these entities to actively engage with this effort.
How Can Governmental Entities Participate in the BDC?
- Challenge the data in the FCC’s Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric)
- Challenge the data on the FCC’s Broadband Map showing broadband availability
- Submit Crowdsource Data
- Submit Verified Availability Data
Governmental entities can also educate consumers about the FCC's Broadband Maps and encourage them to submit challenges or crowdsource information where they think improvements can be made. For a toolkit of resources that governmental entities may use in their outreach to consumers, see: Outreach Toolkit.
How to File Challenge Data
State, local, and Tribal governments can challenge (1) location information in the Fabric, (2) mobile broadband availability data, and/or (3) fixed broadband availability data.
For each type of challenge, the Commission accepts both challenges to individual locations and bulk challenges to multiple locations.
- A bulk Fabric challenge process opened September 12, 2022 for state, local and Tribal governments, as well as service providers, and will continue on an on-going basis.
- The availability challenge process, as well as the individual Fabric challenge process, opened on November 18, 2022, upon the release of the first BDC map. These challenge processes will run on a rolling, on-going basis.
The BDC System may be accessed at: https://bdc.fcc.gov/.
Challenging Fabric Data: Governmental entities may submit challenges to dispute the accuracy of the location data included in the Fabric. In general, the following circumstances will form the basis of a challenge to the Fabric:
- A location that meets the Commission’s definition of a Broadband Serviceable Location is not included in the Fabric;
- A location’s broadband serviceability is incorrectly identified;
- Information about a location is incorrect in the Fabric (e.g., the address or unit count for the location is incorrect); or
- The location’s placement (i.e., geographic coordinates) is incorrect.
Governmental entities can take several steps to prepare for the Fabric challenge process:
- Get access to the Fabric. This process will include executing a license agreement with CostQuest, the contractor for the Fabric dataset.
- Review the FCC’s Public Notice explaining the methodology for identifying structures as Broadband Serviceable Locations in the Fabric and announcing the release of the bulk Fabric challenge data specification
- Review the Bulk Fabric Challenge Data Specification
- Develop a strategy for reviewing and validating the Fabric data for your geographic area (including reviewing the Fabric tutorial video and related articles the FCC has released as part of its technical assistance to stakeholders)
- Align your data with the requirements laid out in the Fabric bulk challenge data specification; and
- Ensure that you properly format your bulk Fabric challenge data
- Log into the BDC system and upload your bulk Fabric challenge submission.
The Fabric is updated twice each year. If a challenge is not submitted in time to be considered for the next version of the Fabric, it will be evaluated for a future iteration.
Challenging Fixed Availability Data: Governmental entities may submit in the BDC system challenges to the information submitted by ISPs on the locations where they offer broadband service. In general, the following circumstances will form the basis of a challenge to fixed broadband availability data:
- The reported service is not offered;
- The reported speed is not available for purchase;
- The provider denied a request for service or demanded connection charges that exceed its standard installation charge; or
- The provider failed to schedule an installation within 10 business days of a request for service (or failed to perform the install within 10 business days of a request for service).
Speed test results of home internet access service will not form the basis for an availability challenge but will be accepted as crowdsource data (discussed below).
Challenging Mobile Availability Data: Governmental entities can submit mobile speed test results to challenge 3G, 4G, and 5G coverage areas reported by mobile providers. Governments and other entity challengers may use their own software and hardware to collect data for the challenge process. The data metrics can be found in the Data Specifications for submitting on-the-ground mobile speed test data. They can also use the FCC's Mobile Speed Test App to submit data for mobile challenges. The FCC Speed Test App is available in the Google Play Store for Android devices, and in the Apple App Store for iOS devices. Search for "FCC Speed Test" to find and download the App.
How to File Crowdsource Data
Filing Fixed Crowdsource Data: Governmental entities submitting bulk crowdsource information about the availability of broadband service at particular locations can do so via the BDC system. They must submit the following information:
- Contact information (e.g., name, address, phone number, and email);
- The location(s) that are the subject of the filing, including the street addresses and/or coordinates (latitude and longitude) of each location;
- The name of the broadband service provider being challenged;
- Any relevant details disputing the deployment and availability of broadband internet access service at the location; and
- A certification that to the best of the filer's actual knowledge, information, and belief, all statements in the filing are true and correct.
Filing Mobile Crowdsource Data: Mobile crowdsourced data must include the metrics and meet the testing parameters described in the Mobile Speed Test Data Specifications, except that the data may include download speed and/or upload speed results, but are not required to include both.
How Governmental Entities May File Verified Availability Data
What is “Verified” Availability Data? "Verified" data will be determined by the Commission based on whether the data have been submitted by an entity that is primarily responsible for mapping or tracking broadband service coverage, including whether the entity specializes in gathering and/or analyzing availability data and whether the submitter has demonstrated that it has employed a sound and reliable methodology in collecting, organizing, and verifying the availability data it is submitting. The Commission will not accept broadband coverage data that a governmental entity has simply collected directly from a broadband provider without any further actions taken to validate the accuracy of these data.
What Must Verified Availability Data Contain? To the extent a governmental entity chooses to file verified data during a biannual BDC filing window (i.e., June 30 through September 1, and December 31 through March 1), the availability data must reflect coverage as of the applicable BDC as-of date (i.e., June 30 or December 31). The entity must submit the data in the same system and under the same parameters as broadband providers. This means they must format their data according to the requirements set forth in the Data Specifications for Biannual Submission of Subscription, Availability, and Supporting Data and include all required information and certifications, including a certification by a certified professional engineer that he or she is employed by the governmental entity and has direct knowledge of, or responsibility for, the generation of the entity’s verified availability data.
When Submission is Mandatory. Submission of broadband availability data is mandatory for state, local, and Tribal governmental entities that provide facilities-based fixed or mobile broadband internet access service (such as through municipal broadband networks or Tribal telcos) and have one or more end-user connections in service at the beginning of a filing period. Such entities should register to file data in the BDC System as a Service Provider, not a Governmental Entity. An entity that falls into this category should refer to the "For Filers" section.
Learn more about the steps governmental entities that choose to file verified data need to take. (see second document)
Help Center Resources for Governments and Tribes
- How to complete the BDC Entity Information page: government entities
- How governmental entities may access the Fabric
- How governmental entities may file verified availability data
- How governmental entities may file bulk mobile challenges