The FCC said today that the second Broadband Data Collection (BDC) will begin January 3. Broadband service providers have until March 1 to input their information as of December 31, 2022 into the BDC system.
The Broadband Data Collection is intended to determine the locations of homes and businesses that do not have broadband and therefore will be eligible for funding through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and other government programs. The BEAD program alone has a budget of $42.5 billion for this purpose.
The first Broadband Data Collection was completed in September to reflect broadband availability as of earlier this year. It was intended to be a sort of trial run of the BDC system that came online this year and to also serve as a trial run for the broadband location fabric that is intended to show the address and geocoordinates for every broadband serviceable location in the country.
Various sources have criticized the accuracy of the location fabric, which did not go through a challenge process until after the initial broadband data collection was completed. There also was no deadline for submitting challenges to the fabric.
According to an FCC public notice released today, the fabric has been updated. The fabric “contains data from additional data sources and other improvement efforts conducted by the FCC and its contractor, CostQuest, and the results of bulk fabric challenges submitted by state and local governments and broadband providers,” the FCC said.
Changes include “additional broadband serviceable locations and other corrections to addresses, unit counts, building types, land use and geographic coordinates.”
NTIA, which will administer the BEAD program, previously encouraged anyone wanting to challenge the data from the first data collection to file their challenges by January 13 in order for the challenges to be incorporated in the final version of the map that will be used to allocate BEAD funding in the summer of 2023.
An NTIA spokesperson told Telecompetitor today that those challenges would only pertain to broadband availability data and not to the location fabric, but it isn’t clear how the NTIA’s goals dovetail with those of the FCC.
The FCC has said that resolution of challenges will be ongoing so perhaps the commission will continue to update the fabric during the data collection process. If so, though, it isn’t clear how that would impact a provider that inputs its data early in the second broadband data collection process.