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Filing Challenges to FCC Broadband Map and Sunset of FCC Form 477 Filing Obligation

Posted by CommLaw | Dec 15, 2022 | 0 Comments

Federal Communications Commission rules required all facilities-based providers of fixed and mobile mass-market retail 25/3 Mbps broadband Internet access service to file by September 1, 2022 data in the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) system of locations that are or could have been served by the provider.  The FCC used that dataset to produce the National Broadband Map, which was made publicly available on November 18, 2022.  Among other things, the National Broadband Map will permit federal and state authorities to determine unserved or underserved locations to make future broadband funding decisions, including under the BEAD grant program administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce (NTIA).

The broadband availability data submitted by providers are subject to a challenge process.  Based on resolution of the challenges, the FCC will make available a revised Broadband Map that NTIA will use to allocate BEAD funding to the states, which it expects to do by June 30, 2023.  NTIA encourages parties to file broadband availability challenges by January 13, 2023 for the FCC to produce the revised Broadband Map in 2023. 

Federal agencies, local, state and Tribal governments, and other stakeholders -- including broadband competitors -- may also submit BDC data, including crowdsourced data, that challenges the fixed provider's availability data.  Parties filing a challenge must submit detailed service offering and deployment data, along with engineering support.  If a challenger's data conflicts with that of the provider, the FCC's BDC system will notify the provider (by email) of the challenge and the provider will have 60 days to contest the third-party data.  If the parties cannot resolve the issues within 60 days of the provider's rebuttal, the FCC will make a determination.  

Finally, on December 9, 2022, the FCC adopted an Order sunsetting the obligation of broadband providers to file broadband data using the FCC Form 477, effective on publication of the Order in the Federal Register.

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