The latest update to the FCC National Broadband Map is set to go live right about the time this post publishes – around noon ET today. In a blog post, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel offered additional information about the update and in its own blog post, the NTIA said it was on track to use the map to make allocations to the states in the $42.5 billion BEAD rural broadband funding program.
According to the map, there are 8.3 million unserved locations nationwide, noted Rosenworcel.
An FCC spokesperson confirmed that the 8.3 million number is based on the NTIA’s definition of “unserved.”
Both NTIA and the FCC use speeds of 25/3 Mbps as the cutoff point for locations to be considered unserved. But if the only 25/3 Mbps or faster service available to an individual location is from a fixed wireless provider that uses unlicensed spectrum, the FCC considers that location to be served and NTIA does not.
New FCC Broadband Map
The FCC broadband map is designed to show which providers offer service at every broadband serviceable location in the U.S. Information is collected twice yearly from service providers. The updated map is based on availability as of December 31, 2022.
A preliminary version of that data was released in early January, and stakeholders had the opportunity to challenge the data. According to Rosenworcel’s blog post, the FCC received over four million challenges and about three quarters of those challenges have been resolved.
“The majority have led to updates in the data on the map showing where broadband is available,” Rosenworcel said.
NTIA offered a more specific number. According to its blog post, about 3.7 million challenges were resolved.
According to Rosenworcel, the updated version of the map depicts an increase of 330,000 unserved locations from the previous version of the map. According to NTIA, the number of unserved locations increased by .2 percentage points.
State BEAD allocations will be based, in large part, on the percentage of total U.S. unserved locations in each state. But NTIA cautioned that there is more to the calculation than that and referred stakeholders to a recent agency document for additional information.
This is the link to the FCC broadband map.