Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules require all facilities-based providers of fixed and mobile mass-market retail broadband Internet access with at least one end user service connection to file broadband availability data in the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) system by September 1, 2022.
The purpose of the BDC program is to allow the FCC (and its contractor CostQuest Associates) to produce the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric) of the specific residential and business locations that are either served or that could be served by broadband networks deployed as of June 30, 2022. Among other things, the Fabric will permit federal and state authorities to determine unserved or underserved locations to make future broadband funding decisions, including under the state BEAD grant programs.
Moreover, federal agencies, local, state and Tribal governments, and other stakeholders -- including broadband competitors -- may also submit BDC data, including crowdsourced data. Such parties must submit detailed service offering and deployment data, along with engineering support. If such third-party broadband data conflicts with that of an existing fixed provider, the BDC system will send the provider an alert of the challenge and the provider will be given a 60-day window 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.
We strongly recommend that providers subject to the BDC filing requirements prepare well in advance of September 1st deadline, as the process is quite involved and significantly different from the FCC Form 477 filing process. Further, to access the BDC system, providers must first execute an end-user license agreement with CostQuest Associates. The FCC offers a wealth of information regarding the program and filing procedures at the BDC Help Center and in the BDC System User Guide, as well as in upcoming BDC technical assistance workshops in August.
Finally, we note that broadband providers must continue to file the FCC Form 477, also due on September 1st. The FCC will announce the phase-out of the Form 477 filing obligation for broadband data at a later date but, for now, both the BDC and the Form 477 obligations remain in effect.