Important New Developments in National Broadband Mapping
Broadband Service Providers Should Get Ready to Upload Data This Summer
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to improve broadband mapping accuracy prior to the disbursement of most of the $42 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) grant program. In our February 28 e-Lert, we informed clients that the FCC had announced that fixed and mobile broadband providers must input their broadband availability data into the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) platform during the filing window that begins on June 30, 2022, and ends on September 1, 2022. The submitted data must reflect broadband availability as of June 30, 2022. The FCC has not yet finalized its detailed data specifications that will instruct providers on how to prepare and format their BDC data submission.
Importantly, the BDC data submission does not replace the FCC’s Form 477 data submission. Providers will be required to upload data into the BDC system-using the yet to be announced FCC specifications-in addition to uploading their Form 477 data.
One critical component to the FCC’s BDC mapping effort was the selection of a Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (BSLF) contractor. The BSLF forms the mapping structure for the BDC platform and contains the broadband location data used to support the BDC program. The FCC received bids for this work and awarded the contract to CostQuest Associates (CostQuest). Another bidding entity challenged the FCC’s award, thereby suspending the contract award until the GAO reviewed the bidder’s protest. On February 24, the GAO denied the losing bidder’s protest, and the contract was officially awarded to CostQuest.
That GAO action clears the way for the BDC platform to be finalized. And providers will input their broadband availably data this summer. Notably, the FCC may open the BDC input window earlier than June 30 if the system is ready. The next action related to BDC input is for the FCC to deliver data submission instructions to providers so that provider data can be formatted for BDC input.
The FCC understands that the BDC mapping results are critical for BEAD grants, and JSI expects it will make the BDC data specifications instructions available as soon as possible, thereby giving providers sufficient time to meet the September 1 deadline.
If you have any questions about the BDC or how JSI can help you with the BDC input process, please click the button below to connect with one of our experts.