The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) has released version 4.0 of the Connect America Fund Broadband Map (CAF Map). The organization says that the goal of the map is to illustrate the impact of the CAF on reducing the digital divide in America.
The latest iteration of the map includes information on deployments concluded by the end of last year and areas eligible for CAF support. The map’s dataset is based on carrier reports that are submitted though the USAC’s High Cost Universal Broadband (HUBB) portal. It includes address, latitude and longitude coordinates, carrier name, deployment year and minimum speeds available at built out locations. The USAC verifies a sample of the locations reported to the HUBB to ensure compliance.
The map, which launched in 2018, is used by consumers, researchers and policy makers at the federal, state and local level, according to USAC. The CAF, part of the federal Universal Service Fund High Cost program, is designed to provide voice and broadband service to rural areas where the market alone cannot support the infrastructure deployment and connectivity.
The High Cost Program initially supported voice service. It has been expanded to include broadband and now is comprised of several funds that require carriers “to meet defined deployment obligations in rural America in exchange for set payments determined by a cost model” according to USAC.
The map includes data from carriers participating in Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF Phase II), Alternative Connect America Cost Model (ACAM), Connect America Fund Broadband Loop Support (CAF BLS), The Alaska Plan, Rural Broadband Experiments (RBE) and Connect America Fund Phase II Auction (CAF II Auction).
USAC released the original version of the map in October 2018.