What is the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric?

The FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric is “a common data set of all residential and business locations (or structures) in the U.S. where fixed broadband internet access service is or can be installed. These locations make up the points that will appear on the National Broadband Map.” Each point represents a Broadband Serviceable Location, as determined by the Commission.

Please review the information listed below for further information on the FCC Fabric data, and how you can get access to the FCC Fabric. If you need any assistance, please submit a request to the BDC Help Center or email nbfsupport@costquest.com.

FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric Version 2 is now available

Fixed broadband service providers, government entities, and other designated entities can get access to the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (also referred to as the Fabric, FCC Fabric, Location Fabric, and FCC Broadband Fabric) to support the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program. The FCC Fabric has been updated (Fabric Version 2) and contains data from additional sources, as well as improvements and updates made by the FCC and CostQuest’s internal efforts. The updated FCC Fabric data includes additional Broadband Serviceable Locations, as well as corrections to addresses, unit counts, building types, land use, and geographic coordinates. It also includes the results of the bulk FCC Fabric challenges submitted by state and local governments and broadband providers.

Now that the March 2023 BDC Filing window is open service providers who are already licensees to use the FCC Fabric will receive an email from CostQuest providing them with access to the updated data on a rolling basis. (This email has been sent by CostQuest to FCC Fabric licensees.)

The FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric is “a key component of the BDC program because the Fabric data serves as the foundation on which fixed broadband providers’ availability data will be overlaid” on top of the Fabric locations to create their BDC Filings. The FCC Fabric in combination with broadband service availability data submitted by service providers in the BDC allows the FCC to create the National Broadband Map, to develop a granular picture of where broadband service is and most importantly, where it isn’t.

Expanded FCC Fabric Use Rights

In November of 2022, the FCC and CostQuest announced that designated government entities can get access to the FCC Fabric data to support State Broadband Mapping efforts, and other designated entities can get access to the data to support the BDC and FCC Fabric Challenge Process. Follow the link below for more information on the expansion of FCC Fabric data usage rights.

The FCC Fabric & National Broadband Map are two different items

It’s important to note the FCC Fabric and FCC National Broadband Map are two separate deliverables and not the same thing. The FCC Fabric is a piece of the FCC’s process to create their National Broadband Maps, as they will combine the Fabric data and broadband service availability data submitted by service providers in their processes to create their broadband maps.

How the BDC Process works

The Broadband Data Collection (BDC) process works to gather the necessary location information and ISP’s service availability data to create the underlying data to create the National Broadband Map.

To start the Broadband Data Collection process, CostQuest delivers the FCC Fabric data to the FCC and to BDC Filers (Internet Service Providers, ISPs). BDC Filers then use the FCC Fabric data as a basis to overlay their service availability data on top of the locations in the Fabric to create their BDC Filing and then they submit their filing into the Broadband Data Collection system. The FCC then uses the service availability data submitted into the BDC by BDC Filers in combination with the FCC Fabric data, to create the underlying data in the FCC’s National Broadband Map to represent where filers report broadband services are available for each individual location.

CostQuest has no role in collecting service availability data from the BDC or the creation and management of the FCC’s National Broadband Map. See the table below for more clarification on CostQuest’s and FCC’s role in the BDC process:

BDC ProcessCostQuestFCC
Delivering the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric YesYes
FCC Fabric Licensing ProcessYesYes
Collecting BDC Submissions from ISPsNo roleYes
Creating and managing the FCC National Broadband MapNo roleYes

Service providers and government entities will have access to the following data in the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric:

  • Location ID: The unique, Commission-issued identifier for each location in the data. The Location ID provided in the Fabric is different than the Location ID in the Preliminary Fabric.  Preliminary Fabric Location IDS (those starting with a 9) should not be used for BDC submissions.
  • Geographic Coordinates:  The set of latitude/longitude coordinates associated with each location.  These coordinates are within the boundary or footprint of the location. 
  • Address:  The five fields that provide the address of the location: address_primary, state, city, zip, and zip_suffix.  
  • Unit Count:  In buildings with multiple units, such as an apartment or condominium, this field represents the number of units in the location. 
  • BSL Flag:  The Fabric will include both broadband serviceable locations (BSLs) and non-BSLs, and this field indicates whether a location is a BSL or not.
  • Building Type Code:  A flag identifying whether a location is a business, residential, or both business and residential.
  • Census Geographies:  The data indicates the county and census block in which the location falls. 

Service providers and other approved designated entities that get access to the FCC Fabric can only use the data for Broadband Data Collection processes, such as filings, and challenge processes.

Follow the link below to learn more about approved Fabric uses for designated government entities.

Follow the link below to explore location data and other informative data attributes that can be used for other purposes such as broadband mapping, network planning, design, managing state broadband programs, and more.

More FCC Fabric information

1) How to access the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric

2) FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric data sources and methodology 

3) Specifications and reminders from the FCC about BDC Filings 

1) How to access the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric

To get access to the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric data, eligible providers must execute a license agreement with CostQuest Associates to get access to the Fabric data. All eligible entities should receive an email from CostQuest to execute this license agreement. Submit a request to the BDC Help Center or email nbfsupport@costquest.com if you need assistance or have any questions about accessing the Fabric.

Per the FCC’s First Fabric Public Notice, “each company’s data will contain Fabric records only for the counties that overlap the Census Blocks reported in the filer’s Form 477 fixed broadband deployment data.”

How to access the FCC Fabric: Step-by-step 

For Service Providers

According to the FCC’s website, service providers need to:

  1. Send an email to CostQuest at nbfsupport@costquest.com with the name and email of the provider’s contact person, the provider’s name, and the provider’s FCC Registration Number (FRN).  You will be able to access the Fabric faster if the contract person provided in the email is someone who can sign the Fabric license agreement on behalf of the company.
  2. CostQuest will email the contact person identified in Step 1 further instructions and a link to CostQuest’s website to create a user account.  Providers that did not file Form 477 in 2021 will first need to complete CostQuest’s “Add New Entity” form using the link provided in the email. 
  3. Create a user account – email and password – within CostQuest’s help desk system. Note: This is a unique account, not tied to any other existing FCC accounts.
  4. If you are authorized to sign a license on behalf of your company (you’re the licensee), skip to step six. If you are not authorized to sign a license on behalf of your company, submit the contact information for the individual with that authority using the Add Licensee form available in the Request Your Data section of the help desk.  To complete the form, you will need (a) the Name of the Licensee and (b) the Email address of the Licensee. 
  5. After submitting the Add Licensee form, you can’t immediately proceed further since only the licensee may request the license.  After you complete the Add Licensee form, the Licensee will receive an email with instructions to set up an account within 1-2 days. Once this email is received, the Licensee can request a license.
  6. If you are authorized to sign a license on behalf of your company, submit a License Request form, available under the “Request Your Data” section, “Step 1: Request a License” link of the help desk.  To complete the request, you’ll need the following info:
    • Name; 
    • Title; 
    • Principal Place of Business Address; 
    • Phone Number; 
    • Name and email address of an administrator who can add other recipients or counties covered by the license; and  
    • Contact information for data recipients receiving access to the data file.
  7. After the License Request form is submitted, the Licensee will receive a confirmation email.  
  8. CostQuest will validate the request and if it’s free of exceptions or errors, CostQuest will prepare the license and email a validation notification with links to access the license agreement.  If CostQuest discovers errors or incomplete information on the form, they will reach out to the requestor for clarification.  Assuming the request form is complete, the expected time from the license request to receipt of an electronic license is 1-2 business days.
  9. Sign the agreement via an electronic signature platform. Once that’s done, CostQuest will send a copy of the completed agreement within 1-3 business days. CostQuest will also prepare the data file, and you will receive a link to access the data through the help desk system within 1-2 business days.
  10. The link to download the data file will be emailed to the license requestor, the administrator, and any recipients associated with the holding company as listed in the license request form. 

Any questions about accessing the license agreement or how to access the Fabric data should be addressed to CostQuest at NBFsupport@costquest.com.  

for State, Local, and Tribal Governments

According to the FCC’s website, government entities need to:

  1. If you do not already have one, obtain an FCC username and password, and an FCC Registration Number (FRN) for your entity, in CORES (Commission Registration System). When creating your FRN, you must select the Entity Type that matches your government type (Federal, State/Local, or Tribal). 
  2. Log in the BDC system at bdc.fcc.gov using your CORES username and password.
  3. After logging in, you should see any FRNs associated with your username.  Click on the FRN for the governmental entity that is seeking access to the Fabric dataset. 
  4. That will take you to the Entity Information page in the BDC system.  Enter the required information.  Note that the Government Entity type selected on that page must match the Government Entity type selected when registering the FRN in CORES in step 1. If you wish to access the Fabric in order to submit challenges to the Fabric or fixed availability data, and do not plan to submit verified data on broadband availability, select only the “Bulk Crowdsourced / Challenge Data” option.
  5. FCC staff will review the information and provide the contact information of approved entities to CostQuest.  
  6. Within 3-5 business days, CostQuest will email you (or the Certifying Official identified in step 4) further instructions and a link to CostQuest’s website to create a user account.   
  7. Create a user account – email and password – within CostQuest’s help desk system.   
    Note: This is a unique account, not tied to any other existing FCC accounts. 
  8. If you are authorized to sign a license on behalf of your company, skip to step 9.  If you are not authorized to sign a license on behalf of your company, submit the contact information for the individual with that authority using the Add Licensee form in the Request Your Data section of the CostQuest help desk.  To complete the form, you will need:
    • the Name of the Licensee
    • the Email address of the Licensee.
  9. After submitting the Add Licensee form, you can’t immediately proceed further since only the licensee may request the license. After you complete the Add Licensee form, the Licensee will receive an email with instructions to set up an account within 1-2 days.  Once this email is received, the Licensee can request a license. 
  10. If you are authorized to sign a license on behalf of your company, submit a License Request form, available under the “Request Your Data” section, “Step 1: Request a License” link of the help desk. To complete the request, you’ll need the following info:
    • Name
    • Title 
    • Address 
    • Phone Number 
    • Name and email address of an administrator who can add other recipients or counties covered by the license 
    • Contact information for data recipients receiving access to the data file
  11. After the License Request form is submitted, the Licensee will receive a confirmation email. 
  12. CostQuest will validate the request and if it’s free of exceptions or errors, CostQuest will prepare the license and email a validation notification with links to access the license agreement. If CostQuest discovers errors or incomplete information on the form, they will reach out to the requestor for clarification. Assuming the request form is complete, the expected time from the license request to receipt of an electronic license is 1-2 business days. 
  13. Sign the agreement via an electronic signature platform. Once that’s done, CostQuest will send a copy of the completed agreement within 1-3 business days. CostQuest will also prepare the preliminary data file, and you will receive a link to access the data through the help desk system within 1-2 business days. 
  14. The link to download the data file will be emailed to the license requestor, the administrator, and any recipients associated with the holding company as listed in the license request form. 

Any questions about accessing the license agreement or how to access the Fabric data should be addressed to CostQuest at NBFsupport@costquest.com.  For information about the Fabric, see What is the Location Fabric?

For Other Designated Entities

According to the FCC’s website, “To access the Fabric data, each entity must follow the steps below, which include registering at the FCC, logging into the BDC system, and executing a limited end-user license agreement for the Fabric. License requests will be processed as quickly as possible, but how quickly depends on the number of pending requests. Due to this, delivery of the data may take up to two weeks from the time your entity information is submitted. 

  1. If you do not already have one, obtain an FCC username and password, and an FCC Registration Number (FRN) for your entity, in CORES (Commission Registration System).  When creating your FRN, you must select the Entity Type that matches your company or organization; do not select “Individual.”
  2. Log into the BDC system at http://bdc.fcc.gov using your CORES username and password.
  3. After logging in, you should see FRNs associated with your username.  Click on the FRN for the entity seeking access to the Fabric dataset.
  4. That will take you to the Entity Information page in the BDC system, where you must enter the required information.
    • Be sure to select only the “Bulk Crowdsourced / Challenge Data” option and not the option to submit broadband availability data.
  5. FCC staff will review the information and provide your contact information to CostQuest. 
  6. Within 5 business days, CostQuest will email the Certifying Official identified in step 4 further instructions and a link to CostQuest’shelp desk website where you can create a user account.  
  7. Create a user account – email and password – within CostQuest’s help desk system.
    • Note: This is a unique account and is not tied to any other existing FCC accounts.
  8. In the CostQuest help desk system, submit a Tier 4 Submission form, available under the “Request Your Data” section, “Tier 4 Licensing Process” link of the help desk. To complete the request, you’ll need the following information:
    • Address of the entity’s principal office;
    • Name, email address, and title of the person who will sign the license;
    • Name, email address, and phone number of an administrator who can add other recipients or counties covered by the license;
    • Contact information for data recipients receiving access to the data file;
    • The geographic area for which you require Fabric data; and
    • Summary information on how the requested Fabric data may be used for BDC purposes.
  9. After the Tier 4 Submission form is submitted, the requestor will receive a confirmation email. 
  10. CostQuest will validate the request as quickly as possible and, absent any exceptions or errors, will prepare the license and email a validation notification to the licensee with links to access the electronic license agreement. If there are errors or incomplete information on the Tier 4 Submission form, CostQuest will contact the requestor for clarification or more information.
  11. The licensee should sign the license agreement via the electronic signature platform. Once signed, CostQuest will send a copy of the completed license agreement to the licensee within 1-3 business days. 
  12. After the license is signed, CostQuest will also prepare the Fabric data file, and the contacts listed on the Tier 4 Submission form– the licensee, the administrator, and data recipients – will receive a link to access the data within 1-2 business days.  

Any questions about accessing the license agreement or how to access the Fabric data should be addressed to CostQuest at NBFsupport@costquest.com. For information about the Fabric, see What is the Location Fabric? and the Fabric FAQs.”

2) The FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric data sources and methodology

The data sources that will be used to identify locations (including Broadband Serviceable Locations) listed in the FCC Fabric include a combination of: 

  • Satellite imagery 
  • Building footprints 
  • Address databases 
  • Land and local tax records 
  • Other sources that the vendor finds as either necessary or beneficial for determining the locations of structures throughout the U.S. where fixed broadband service can be installed 

To learn more about the development methods for the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric, visit the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric Methods Manual linked below.

3) Specifications from the FCC on BDC submissions 

“Filers seeking to submit lists of addresses or locations, as opposed to submitting availability polygons, will need to match their location data to locations in the Fabric.”

It is required that providers associate their location availability data to the Commission-issued Location IDs in the Fabric to be consistent with the Broadband Data Act (BDA) requirements. Submitting the Location ID for each of their Broadband Serviceable Locations will ensure that the Commission will collect availability data that “can be georeferenced to the data in the Fabric” and will result in a more accurate and complete broadband locations database. 

Notes from the FCC 

“Filing broadband availability data based upon the Fabric is a new process, so we expect that it will take providers some time to work through their methodology for aligning their internal served location data with the Fabric, and then to generate the data required for filing in the BDC system.” This data filed in the BDC is critical for federal and state policymakers to distribute the broadband deployment funds made available by Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program. 


General FCC Fabric resources

Video tutorials

Have questions? 

If you have any questions regarding the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection Processes and the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric, please submit a request to the BDC Help Center.

For questions specific to the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric, such as licensing, please contact the National Broadband Fabric Support Team.

For answers to common questions about the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric, please visit the Fabric FAQ page.

To see the official FCC release about the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric, please visit the FCC’s website to read the full Public Notice.

Disclaimer

This communication does not reflect the opinion or the policy of the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC is not responsible for the information or views in this communication and is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of such information or views.

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